News

April 13, 2020

The Rosenblum Companies and Pengate Handling Systems Donate Warehouse Space and Equipment to Regional Food Bank During Pandemic

The Regional Food Bank’s distribution has increased by 40% since the COVID-19 pandemic began in mid-March, but with social distancing guidelines and limited space, Food Bank volunteer numbers have taken a massive hit. In an ordinary year, volunteers complete the work equivalent to more than 30 full-time employees, but the pandemic has forced group sizes to decline by nearly 70% at a time when additional help is needed more than ever. With social distancing requirements, the Food Bank can only accommodate 10 volunteers at a time in its warehouse instead of the 30 or more it gets on a regular basis.

The Food Bank receives many donations of food that must be sorted and repacked before they can be distributed to food pantries and other agencies. Volunteers do the bulk of that work. With the large decline in volunteers, a backlog of product is building up and taking up valuable warehouse space, and it cannot get to people who need it until it is sorted.

To address this problem, the Food Bank began a search for temporary warehouse space to use during this crisis. With the help of commercial realtor CBRE Albany, a connection was made with The Rosenblum Companies, and the Food Bank’s space problem is being resolved beyond all expectations. Rosenblum offered to donate the use of one its warehouses in Latham for the next few months and prepared the space to meet the Food Bank’s needs free of charge.

Pengate Handling Systems is also stepping up in a big way to help by providing the Food Bank free rental of pallet jacks, forklifts, and chargers for the new warehouse. AE Rosen Electrical Co. is installing the chargers at no cost. All of these donations will save the Food Bank thousands of dollars that can be used to feed people in need of food assistance at this difficult time.

“We had a simple idea of renting off-site warehouse space to relieve the many problems we currently have sorting and repacking food in our own facility,” said Mark Quandt, Executive Director of the Food Bank. We started with one phone call explaining our need and have been overwhelmed with the response. These wonderful donors are thanking us for the opportunity to help. We are very grateful for their generosity, and look forward to expanding our volunteer program at the new facility. We also want to thank in advance all the volunteers who will be assisting us at that site. We couldn’t do our work without them.”

“The relationship with the Regional Food Bank has been one of our company’s most enduring and treasured community partnerships, but we feel particularly fortunate for the ability to place one of our properties into direct service of their critical work during these unusually challenging times,” said Seth Rosenblum, CEO of The Rosenblum Companies. “I especially want to thank our expert property management team, as well as AE Rosen and Pengate, who all went above and beyond without hesitation to ready the building for this special purpose.”

The new warehouse space will be ready for volunteers on April 21 and will be open every Tuesday through Friday with shifts from 9:30-12:00 and 12:30-3:00 for ages 6 to 69. Those interested can visit www.regionalfoodbank.net/volunteer to sign up.

The Food Bank continues to need financial support to meet the increased demand. Contributions can be mailed to the Regional Food Bank at 965 Albany Shaker Rd., Latham, NY 12110 or made online at www.regionalfoodbank.net. People in need of food assistance can find help through the Find Food tab on the Food Bank’s website. Other offers of support or questions can be directed to 518-786-3691 x221 or [email protected].