In 2021, Feeding America reported that 55% more people were using food banks compared to the months before COVID-19. While numbers have decreased, they remain well above pre-pandemic levels, especially since many national food assistance programs ended last year and the cost of living continues to rise. Tens of millions of people in America still face hunger. Nonprofits fighting food insecurity locally, like Colins Food Pantry (CFP) in Atlanta, Ga., are increasingly addressing operational costs that eat into their funding to scale services and meet the staggering need.
With a GoodUse grant and technical assistance from the sustainable building nonprofit Southface Institute, CFP replaced their 22-year-old HVAC system and made other energy efficiency upgrades that will reduce the organization’s utility bills year after year. CFP Chair Kevin McFeeley explained that the savings will be used to purchase more healthy food and seeds to grow in our Community Garden. The improvements also reduce CFP’s carbon footprint while maintaining a safe, comfortable place for volunteers to share over 1 million meals annually with clients experiencing hardships.
From 2018-2021, food banks nationwide achieved $162,855 in cumulative annual cost savings through Southface’s GoodUse program, so they served an additional 1.7 million meals. These food banks are saving an estimated 989,945 kWh of electricity, 52 kgal of water, and 706 metric tons CO2e per year. Feeding America has long partnered with Southface to support their Food Bank Affiliates through GoodUse.
The GoodUse program provides financial and technical assistance to 45-50 nonprofits annually, equipping them to reduce their utility bills through more efficient ventilation, energy, and water systems. Whether the grantee is a housing shelter, historic theater, Boys & Girls Club, or a food bank like CFP, the upgrades result in more mission-critical dollars that organizations can reallocate to core services people rely on. These financial wins for the community are realized all while improving the environmental impact of our buildings and infrastructure — a recipe for societal success.
Interested in becoming a GoodUse partner? The next grant application cycle closes June 10, 2022.