Ruth's Gleanings
Ruth S Gleanings Refrigerated Truck

Reefer truck to triple capacity for food-sharing organization

Aug. 4, 2021
Food-sharing organization Ruth’s Gleanings recently unveiled a new refrigerated box truck that it plans to deploy in Spartanburg County, South Carolina.

Non-profit food-sharing organization Ruth’s Gleanings recently unveiled a new refrigerated box truck that it plans to deploy in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, in an effort to curb nutritional poverty by increasing access to healthy, fresh food.

Ruth’s Gleanings debuted the 17-foot reefer truck, which is capable of hauling 500 FoodShare boxes, as part of its five-year anniversary celebration. Coupled with a 12-foot FoodShare trailer that can haul 250 boxes at a time, Ruth’s Gleanings said it now can distribute 750 boxes to more partner sites throughout the county with multiple vehicles in operation.

And with the hydraulic-lift capability of the larger, refrigerated box truck, full pallets of food boxes can be loaded and unloaded efficiently at dock level to save time and streamline operations. The reefer trailer now will be powered by a newly acquired 4x4 truck funded by Women Giving for Spartanburg, PAL Spartanburg and individual donors. As a result, more people in rural areas of Spartanburg will gain access to healthy fresh fruit and vegetables through the FoodShare partner sites.

“PAL is so excited to be able to support Ruth’s Gleanings in strengthening our local food infrastructure with the purchase of this truck, which will be used to distribute healthy food, much of it local, to residents in Spartanburg County,” said Alissa Duncan, coalition and food system coordinator at PAL. “Being able to distribute more local food also means more business for local farmers and a more resilient food system.

“This fruitful partnership with Ruth’s Gleanings helps PAL further our mission of advancing active living, promoting healthy living, and fostering health equity.” 

With demand for the FoodShare program on the rise, the new box truck arrived when it was needed most, the organization said. Funding for the new truck was provided by UnitedHealthcare and Women Giving for Spartanburg. 

From 2019 to 2020, demand for the FoodShare program grew 230% ,and the current trend indicates an increase of another 135% this year, Ruth’s Gleanings added. So the new truck fills the much-needed role of distributing 9,000 boxes of fresh food this year, and even greater quantities in the near future.

“We are extremely thankful for the generosity shown to us through our loyal supporters, who not only understand our operational needs, but get involved in our programs,” said Tonja Smith, founder and executive director of Ruth’s Gleanings. “Although we may be emerging from the pandemic, the exponential increase in demand for food boxes continues to grow, and this new truck could not have arrived at a better time.

“We are grateful to have it and excited about expanding our ability to serve a larger community that needs fresh, nutritional food.”

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