A Memo from the Desk of Brooke Sampson…

July 9, 2014
Member Agency Memo
Re: Order quantity limits and network food distribution assessment

Dear Member Agency Representative,

In order to accommodate the food needs of agencies across our countywide network, we set limits on available items that are limited in supply. In implementing our upgraded inventory management system this July, we have applied these limits to the online menu, in addition to posting them in our on-site shopping area.

In the case of donated items, we set product-specific limits to maximize the number of agencies that can obtain a portion of the donated goods, particularly items that are in high demand but are donated infrequently (such as dairy and meat items).

In the case of Shop Smart items, we have set a maximum quantity of 20 cases per item across the board. Although the Shop Smart program is driven by agency demand, it is constrained by product availability from our vendors at a price that, with our 25% subsidy, is affordable for our member agencies. In order to get the best price and freight rate on the items we purchase for the Shop Smart program, we order in multiple pallet quantities and coordinate purchases of several items at a time from our vendors. Given the volume of Shop Smart orders, we typically place orders every 2 months.

We can accommodate our member agencies that require Shop Smart items in larger quantity than is available for order on our standard online menu when given appropriate lead time to put a purchase together at a good price. Going forward, we ask that agencies placing large quantity orders forecast their Shop Smart needs quarterly and submit these orders 3 months in advance, so that our staff can secure reasonable prices and freight rates. We thank you in advance for your cooperation. These orders should be emailed to Grace Galvan, Director of Agency Network Services, at grace@thefoodbank.org. Your compliance with providing 3 months lead time for larger quantity orders will enable us to keep adequate supplies of Shop Smart items on hand to fulfill orders for all our member agencies.

In an effort to better understand the food needs of our member agencies, so that we can be proactive in acquiring needed foods and effective in distributing them through our network in a timely manner to reach people in need countywide, we have been working over the past months to analyze our aggregate distribution data and map our network of agencies and programs. In the coming months, we will embark on the second phase of this assessment, analyzing distribution and capacity at the agency level. We have a Masters of Social Work candidate, Joe Pirmann, who will be assisting us with the field work component of this assessment. Thank you for responding to his requests for information, so that we can improve our service.

We truly appreciate your partnership in the fight to end hunger and malnutrition in Santa Cruz County.

Sincerely,

Brooke Sampson
Chief Operations and Programs Officer

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