Overcoming an unreliable database to track food donations and distribution
Just Food of Douglas County is both a food bank and food pantry that serves the daily food needs of 300 families with fresh produce, dairy and meat products. Just Food’s mission is to end hunger by increasing access to healthy foods and reducing barriers to health and well-being.
Prior to Link2Feed, Just Food managed their entire workflow using an in-house, volunteer-created database housed on an independent server. This database would often crash, creating many difficulties around how to track day-to-day donations and record outgoing distributions correctly. As a result, Just Food decided it was critical for their operation to transition to a faster and more reliable system.
Cloud-based food pantry inventory system as an end-to-end solution
Just Food moved to Link2Feed in the beginning of 2020 to adopt a cloud-based database model for their client management and inventory tracking. The food bank now has a real-time inventory management system that can easily track both their daily donated food (approximately 3,000 lbs) and distributions to their partner agencies, giving them precise reporting in financial statements and ease of mind when applying for grants.
With Link2Feed’s food pantry inventory system, Just Food also successfully piloted their Compost Tracking program – a partnership with the City of Lawrence that allowed them to track compost as a distribution offering rather than a city disposal service. This shift ultimately helped to curb the amount of food waste produced by the local community.
Expanding operations during COVID-19
In 2020, Link2Feed’s food pantry inventory system helped Just Food manage almost 1 million lbs of food donations and over 120,000 lbs of distributions to partner organizations, along with nearly 15,000 lbs of compost in 2021.
As food assistance requests skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Just Food needed to act fast to ensure their food bank services remained accessible throughout the community. With the help from Link2Feed’s cloud-based software, the food bank was able to offer a new mobile/curbside distribution model as well as a home delivery program, both of which helped to reduce food insecurity while still abiding by social distancing safety measures.
“Because we’re able to use Link2Feed on our phones or iPads, we could check people in very easily, track food donated and do everything that we need to do in order to function on a baseline level. We could not have used our existing database for this kind of operation, and the ease of cloud-based Link2Feed saved the day!” – Brett Salsbury, Director of Finance & Development at Just Food.
Interested? Watch in action how Just Food used our Inventory product suite to facilitate multiple food bank programs here.