Food Providers Network


Food Providers Network

The Food Providers Network (FPN) was formed to provide a venue for area food banks and pantries to learn from each other and create opportunities for coordination among providers.  The purpose of the FPN is to:

  1. Increase collaboration among providers and community partners which improves and expands individual providers’ areas of coverage and reduces duplication of effort.
  2. Share information on resources and best management practices which strengthens the network by strengthening each individual provider.
    • For example, working together allows providers running low on food to direct clients to other pantries that may be better stocked at that time.
  3. Use community outreach to accomplish several goals: reach more clients; reach new community partners to bring in more supplies; boost volunteer involvement; and advance emergency preparedness plans.
    • One specific area of outreach is to schools that often interact with families seeking assistance.

Recent severe weather events have shown that food providers are considered by their clients to be just as essential as county emergency services, so it is imperative that providers be able to carry out their responsibilities under extreme conditions.  The development of emergency preparedness plans is necessary for FPN members to be able to support clients in a crisis environment.

 

Stuff the Bus, a highly successful FPN program, annually coordinates with community partners in January and February to collect food to restock providers’ pantries after the holiday rush. Stuff the Bus has been so successful that enthusiastic providers are looking for ways to repeat the program in the summer.


A more recent FPN initiative, in conjunction with the Community Transformation Grant and Volunteer Fairfax, is the Healthy Nutrition Guidelines brochure that provides nutritional information for those who want to donate to food pantries. For example, select low-sodium canned vegetables and fruit canned in its own juice to add your donation bags. This brochure will soon be made available to all FPN members, as well as the many food pantries sponsored by houses of worship. Find it online here.

Goals and Plans

 The goal of the FPN is to increase the community's capacity to serve individuals and families with emergency food through the following methods:

  1. Using data to identify gaps in service and working to find ways to cover the gaps
    • Human Services Resource Guide, a web-based application that contains information about organizations, programs and services available to County residents
  2. Sharing best practices and service delivery models to help others
  3. Developing a plan for small and large food programs to work together in response to opportunities, such as bulk donations that can be shared among the providers
  4. Developing creative approaches to gain additional corporate partnerships and solicit donations from the community.

Background

Fairfax County is fortunate to have a large number of faith and community-based organizations that help individuals and families obtain enough nourishing food to support themselves in times of need.  In order to better serve those in need, the Food Provider Network (FPN) was established in 2010 by bringing together nonprofit organizations with the support of Fairfax County's Office of Public Private Partnerships (OP3) and Department of Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS). 

Resources

Food Pantries

Putting Food on the Table: Food Security in Fairfax County

Food Provider Network Members Portal

For More Information

The FPN meets every other month at various locations around the county.  For more information about the program, please contact Vin Rogers at 703-324-7233 (TTY 711) or vincent.rogers@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Feeding the Need Brochure


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