Midwest Food Bank has been actively responding to disasters in 2021. Hurricanes Henri and Ida are the latest opportunities MFB has had to support disaster victims in the US. Hurricane Ida formed on August 23, a notable date in hurricane history. Midwest Food Bank began offering Disaster Relief with Hurricane Katrina, which formed on the same date in 2005.
When Katrina hit New Orleans, MFB President and Founder David Kieser saw notifications of charities helping people in the hard-hit city. Thinking he could offer some help from MFB, David took a semi-load of relief. At the request of The Salvation Army, David committed to bringing ten more loads. When Disaster Relief for Katrina ended, Midwest Food Bank had delivered over 150 semi-loads of food.
In the 16 years since Hurricane Katrina, our desire to serve those impacted by disasters remains steadfast. Midwest Food Bank's Disaster Relief program has continued to grow and mature. We added Disaster Relief to our main programs and mission statement. Storage capacity was increased and distribution efficiency was improved. We established a long-standing partnership with The Salvation Army. MFB is now a Salvation Army 'First Responder.' We can have a load of Disaster Relief on the road within 24 hours of a request. MFB delivers food to locations established by The Salvation Army and they distribute it to disaster victims.
In addition to The Salvation Army, we have grown partnerships with multiple organizations to provide Disaster Relief. Some of MFB's collaborators are Agape Flights, Cajun Navy, Operation Bar B Q, Somebody Cares, and local emergency management agencies in many communities.
MFB responds to more than disastrous hurricanes. Our Disaster relief efforts have included wildfires, tornadoes, flooding, and a global pandemic. In 2020, we sent over 185,000 family food boxes in 179 semi-loads to locations across the US. Among others, our locations in East Africa and Haiti have responded to drought and earthquakes.
None of this would be possible without the support of dedicated volunteers and generous donors. MFB volunteers assemble, fill, and load family food boxes, and drive the semis that deliver them.
It's difficult to watch people's lives disrupted by disaster. It's a blessing to show them the love of Christ by offering them help and hope.
Here is a brief video interview of David Kieser recounting the early days of Midwest Food Bank's Disaster Relief program:
To learn about MFB Disaster Relief, click on the following links: