SWEETWATER COUNTY — Food Bank of Sweetwater County employees are overjoyed with the two new vans they purchased using Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding.
“It’s fabulous. It’s been on our wish list for a long time,” Kathy Siler, Food Bank of Sweetwater County executive director, said.
Siler, who has worked for the food bank for about 17 years, said they have always used a 1995 GMC van to transport food, which is now 26 years old.
Both of the 2021 Ford 350 transit cargo vans will help the food bank’s Grocery Rescue Program, Siler said. What makes the arrival of the vans even more exciting, is they were paid for with a CARES grant administered by Casper Housing Authority.
Siler said they applied for the grant last year and found out they had received the grants in December of 2020. The vans were then ordered in January of 2021. However, due to a microchip shortage, they weren’t able to obtain the vans until August 10.
“We’re definitely excited about it,” Siler said.
The food bank’s Grocery Rescue Program is a partnership with local grocery and convenience stores, Food Bank of the Rockies, Food Bank of Wyoming and Feeding America, Siler said. Under this program, the vans are used to pick up food donations from certain local stores. Usually this food would just be thrown away, but through an agreement, the food bank picks it up and distributes it.
By having two vans, one will be stay in Rock Springs and the other will remain in Green River, which will make operations and distribution easier for both communities.
Even though the food bank now has two new vans, it will not be driving to homes or other non-partnership businesses to pick up donations. Residents wanting to make donations can drop them off at one of the food banks. Those who would like to make a big donation, should call the food bank first and schedule an appointment.