DOT Foods has donated over $2.5 million of food to local food banks, schools, food pantries, and non-profit agencies around the United States. The Mount Sterling facility has donated to organizations in its 11-county charitable area that includes Brown, Cass, Greene, Morgan, Pike, Schuyler, and Scott counties. Suzy Parn, leader of DOT’s corporate charitable program, says it’s a way for the company to take care of the community when it had full warehouses. “Every Spring and Fall is when our busiest time hits. That’s when our volume goes way up. At the time the pandemic hit, we had ramped up for our usual Spring volume, which means that our warehouses were full. As we know, everything kind of came to an abrupt halt. What we were able to do was take a lot of the food that otherwise would have gone to waste and donated it to either food banks around the country or even to the food pantries and to the schools or the feeding programs in the areas for each of our distribution centers. Here in Illinois in Mount Sterling, we set up what we call ‘the pantry pick up’ where we would fill trailers with food that was donate-able and invite pantries to come load up their trunks or their vehicles and use the food to hand out to those who were in need in the community.”
Parn says that if you’re a food bank or food program and want to get in on a round of donations, all you have to do is send an email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to her email list. She said she emails everyone on the list whenever more food is available for distribution.
Parn says that the pick up of foods for local food banks is safe and follows all CDC guidelines. “We are having the distribution outside so that all they have to do is pull into the parking lot by our Frozen warehouse facility on Route 99 in Mount Sterling. We have the trailers parked outside. We have employees and in some cases people from our volunteer program who are in the trailers who make the products available. Everybody has masks on. We asks that the pantries that come to pick up have masks on as well. We do the social distancing guidelines as best as we can, just to keep it as safe as possible but still be able to hand off the food so that it can be given to those who need it.”
DOT has served over 50 agencies in their 11-county charitable area since March, including the Central Illinois Food Bank. Parn said appointments for the program have been available about once a week based on when the warehouse is able to release product.
The Tracy Family Foundation has also established a separate COVID-19 charitable fund and have invited people to apply for help for their non-profit group. More than $200,000 has been awarded through the program so far. For more information about the charitable food program, again contact Suzy Parn at email@example.com.