In round two of the United States Department of Agriculture Farmers to Families Food Box Program, CityServe, a faith-based nonprofit, and Gold Star Foods Inc., one of the nation’s leading nutrition provider to K-12 schools and USDA approved contractor, collaborated in a unique partnership to feed families. Occurring from July 2 through September 18, 232,116 food boxes were distributed to food insecure households in Colorado, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

“Gold Star Foods was proud to collaborate with CityServe on the expansion of this critical program,” said Sean Leer, CEO, Gold Star Foods. “The partnership coupled Gold Star’s logistic capabilities and nutrition supply chain with CityServe’s established community HUBs – ensuring resources that made a difference got where they were needed most. It’s a really unique and powerful model.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic. The Farmers to Families Food Box Program not only supplied communities with needed nutrition, but it also provided farmers and companies like Gold Star Foods, a division of GS Foods Group focused on school nutrition, a boost and helped secure jobs during a challenging economic landscape.

As the nation’s leading school nutrition provider – Gold Star was uniquely positioned to collaborate with the USDA on this fast-action and expansive program. Large-scale operations, deep supplier relationships and expertise in the nutrition supply chain allowed Gold Star to distribute food efficiently and safely during times of crisis. Due to its successful emergency response when schools across the nation began to shut down, Gold Star was prepared for round one of the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program as the distribution arm in Southern California. However, in round two of the food box program, Gold Star was awarded a contract as a vendor to deliver food boxes in underserved regions. Gold Star partnered with CityServe in this effort and found the HUB to POD distribution model a powerful and effective system they had yet seen to supply food to families living in the “Last Mile of Need.”

The CityServe distribution model is based on a HUB & POD supply chain.

  • A CityServe HUB is a church with the capacity to be a distribution center of food boxes to local churches, also known as PODs (point of distribution), in its geographical region.
  • A CityServe POD is a local church coordinating with CityServe to receive resources from its assigned HUB and meet the needs of its neighborhood with compassionate giving and relationship building.

“Households living in the “Last Mile of Need” are now able to have food for their families because Gold Star, a private business, was willing to utilize the faith community as a distribution arm of the food box program,” comments Dave Donaldson, CityServe co-founder. “It’s been incredible to see what can be accomplished when private enterprise and the public sector work with the faith community.”

As a private business working with the faith community, the collaboration between Gold Star and CityServe in the food box program is unique and proven effective.  Hundreds of thousands of families who had fallen between the gaps of hunger relief were given food quickly. It’s a new, time-sensitive approach to ensure food insecure families, most particularly households with small children, are fed with fresh, nutritious foods rather than be at risk of malnutrition or starvation.