We created this video tour to give you a glimpse behind the scenes into our work to heal hunger. We hope it will help you learn more about the issue of food insecurity and the impact you can make on hunger.
Operation Food Search began as a food bank that was incorporated in 1981. Since then, we’ve grown to provide food to people need today, while also working on long-term solutions to the problem of hunger.
Our work is divided into three pillars: Meet the Immediate Need, Build Nutrition IQ, and Champion Change.
Meet the Immediate Need
We meet the immediate need for food through donations from grocery stores, restaurants, event venues and stadiums, farms and community food drives. Millions of dollars of produce, dairy, meat and shelf-stable items come to our warehouse every year. We make sure the food is healthy for distribution, and then we get help from thousands of volunteers to sort it and pack it.
The combined hours of all our dedicated volunteers save us over a million dollars each year—which enables us to put that money back into our programs. Volunteers also help us outside the building by rescuing food from farms, supporting our mobile grocery store, helping at food drives, and more.
When the food is sorted and packed, it’s handed off to our agency partners—pantries, shelters and other community sites who give the food directly to the community.
We also rely on community partners to get food to children at risk of hunger. Weekend meals are given out at schools through our Operation Backpack program, and afterschool super snacks and summer meals are provided at libraries and community sites. All the food given out to kids 18 and younger meets specific nutrition standards and is provided free of charge.
Another way we get healthy food to people is through our MetroMarket mobile grocery store. This farmers market on wheels makes stops throughout the week in areas with little access to fresh produce. Community members benefit from greatly reduced prices, empowering them to shop and make their own choices about what to take home.
Build Nutrition IQ
Nutrition is big focus of our work, and we are always looking to increase the amount of nutritious food we distribute, as well as to empower people in the community with the knowledge and skills to make healthy, affordable meals.
Our registered dietitians and nutritionists conduct demonstrations, tastings and classes that provide nutrition education and practical culinary skills.
In order to Champion Change, we make sure that lawmakers and decision makers understand the importance of safety net programs. We advocate for these benefits and help reduce the barriers to access.
Hunger is a more complicated issue than many people realize, and it takes many different kinds of work to provide multiple solutions. But we’re fortunate to be able to collaborate with others to get the food to families that they need today. . . while helping create a future free from hunger.