Q. What are the minimum requirements?
- Located in high areas of need within the 19-county service area
- Is a 501(c)(3) organization or IRS approved tax-exempt church.
- Has been an established organization or church in this area for at least three years.
- Serves needy who meet criteria for service without discrimination. For example, church pantries must be open to needy non-church members as well as needy church members.
- Is willing to provide food without charging, requiring donation or compelling clients to participate in any religious activity, particularly if that compulsion is a condition for receiving food assistance.
- Maintain client records for those served for three years.
- Attend one of the Behind the Scenes Tour held on the 3rd Thursday of each month.
- Have a safe and secure location of storage and distribution that is not a private residence.
- Pass on-site inspection, attend trainings and meet the operation requirements
- Meet ongoing requirements
Q: What are the member fees?
A: Partner Agencies do not pay for food. However, agencies pay a shared maintenance fee of no more than 18 cents per pound.
Q: Our agency is not close to Lubbock. Do you deliver?
A: The South Plains Food Bank does deliver food to areas in the rural area.
Q: What are the operational requirements to pass inspection?
A: SPFB Partner Agencies are required to meet the following criteria:
- The Emergency Food Pantry cannot be located in a private residence.
- Store food in a secure room, preventing the entry of bugs and rodents. Check the walls, ceiling, shelf connections, and around windows and doors. Seal all gaps, holes, and cracks install a strip on the bottom of the pantry door to seal out bugs and rodents.
- Store all food on non-porous, easily sanitized surfaces. Food may not be stored on bare wood, rusty metal, or shelf liner. Paint shelves with light colored, oil-based enamel paint. Re-painting may be needed once a year, depending on how much your pantry is used. The paint seals the wood or metal, and makes it easier to wash off during weekly cleaning.
- Store food properly. Do not re-package any products. The bottom shelf or platform should be 6 inches off the floor, and food product may not be stored closer than 4 inches to the wall or 2 feet from the ceiling.
- Check incoming food to see that it is in good condition. Discard bloated, dented or rusty cans. Also discard containers that leak or do not have labels. Expired or out-of–date baby food and formula must be discarded immediately. Leave enough room on the shelves so that you can move product around for cleaning purposes. Use oldest product first.
- Store non-food items separately from food. Never store non-food items above or mingled with food products. Some common non-food items are hazardous.
- Keep pantry clean. All food storage areas should be checked and cleaned every time the pantry is used. Post specific cleaning tasks that are to be completed at the end of every shift. Floors and shelving can be sanitized with a solution of one teaspoon of bleach combined with a quart of water. Wipe out refrigerators/freezers as soon as spills occur. Use pest control materials that are safe to use around food.
- Store non-perishables at safe temperatures. Food should be protected from extreme heat and humidity. Proper ventilation is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the ideal range for non-perishable products.
- Store perishables at safe temperatures. Keep temperature gauges in all refrigeration equipment. Using temperature chart, record the date and temperature of each unit once every other day, late Friday and early Monday, if there are no operations on the weekend. Safe temperatures in a refrigerator range from 34 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, in a freezer 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
- All USDA grain products must be refrigerated from May through September to deter contamination by pest invasion. Grain products such as flour or corn meal should be kept refrigerated during warmer months to deter the invasion of pests.
- Food and other products from SPFB are for the clients of the approved program only. The pantry, food storage area, refrigerators and freezers containing product from SPFB are to be kept locked and separated from all other agencies and programs.
Q: What ongoing requirements are expected for my agency?
A: To maintain Partner Agency status, agencies are expected to:
- Accommodating an annual inspection/site visit from SPFB
- Submit monthly reports on operations
- Provide pest control documentation.
- Attend yearly Agency Conference
- Provide up-to-date health permits if the agency offers meal service
- Submit Agency information on a year base
- If change occurs in organization, it must be submitted immediately
- New staff or volunteer must be trained if there is a turnover in management
Q: Why do we have to attend the Agency Conference?
A: SPFB will conduct training on policies and procedures for Food Bank agencies. During this training we will talk about what the entire process of accessing product from SPFB to distributing it to your clients. We will discuss best practices keeping in mind the policies and procedures agencies must uphold. A discussion of the required forms will help you determine proper client eligibility and perform required reporting. We will discuss Civil Rights, USDA Policies, and food safety as well.