PENNSAUKEN TWP. – Let’s face it. Real food is not the easiest thing to prepare, especially if you are trying to feed more than 57,000 hungry children in the state of New Jersey.
On Wednesday, the e-commerce company, Amazon partnered with the Food Bank of South Jersey to lend a hand to make sure no one in need of food goes hungry. By supplying the bank with analytics on efficiency and a handful of volunteers, Amazon aims to expedite the rate at which meals are prepared for children suffering from food insecurity.
Representatives from Amazon will be volunteering their time to working the Food Bank’s assembly lines packing food for the Bank’s summer meals program. The Food Bank is projected to create enough meals to feed 8,000 children enrolled in various community programs, summer schools, and churches in Camden, Burlington, Gloucester and Salem counties.
Amazon has already given the Food Bank a few tips on how to increase the rate at which they can create meals in their assembly lines. Where the Food Bank would normally pass an empty bag down on a table through a line of workers who would then place different food items into the bag, Amazon’s workers use a different method. Instead they place the empty bag in the middle of a table and have everyone place their items in the bag all at once. According to Dan Moore, General Manager of Amazon’s fulfillment center, the method is meant to save as much time as possible.
“Even if we can shave one second off of every one meal they generate, and they are generating 500,000 meals this summer, that’s 500,000 seconds,” Moore said. “That’s a lot of time they can shave off of the operation which then ultimately gives them more capacity to make more meals.”
Even though the Food Bank distributes an average of 850,000 pounds of food per month, there is still a demand for meals in the summer, according to Moore.
Amazon has already donated more than 60,000 food products to food banks across the country and is working with each one to increase productivity for those on the receiving end of the meals.
“As a food bank, we just know what we do every day,” said Tom Sims, chief development officer of the Food Bank of South Jersey. “But we don’t know what the higher-end efficiency experts might know to get us to improve how things work.”
The company also gave the Food Bank a $10,000 check in part with its efficiency expertise and some advice on optimizing storage space for food in Bank’s warehouse.
“There is really no way of doing this without the community getting behind us,” Sims said. “I think when you get non-profits and corporations together who work like this, amazing things happen.”