Every year, 36 million pounds of food flows into our warehouse, out to our partner agencies, and onto tables in our community. We distribute everything from pears to peanut butter, celery to chicken, bok choy to black beans.

But the most difficult foods for us to stock are always protein-rich foods like eggs, milk, and fresh meat.

And this year, it’s even trickier.

“The price of commodities is really high this year. On average, the cost is up an entire nickel per pound as compared to last year,” says Wilken Louie, who is in charge of purchasing the food we distribute. A nickel might not sound like a lot, he adds, but when multiplied by hundreds of thousands of pounds, it amounts to a lot, quickly.

Protein-rich foods are always in high-demand at our local food pantry partners because they’re some of the most expensive for people to buy at the grocery store. But they’re also the most expensive for our Food Bank to buy. Not to mention, companies rarely donate these types of perishable foods. And things like fresh chicken, milk, or eggs can’t safely go into a food barrel.

Luckily, a generous group of donors is helping us solve this problem with our Protein Challenge. Through March 31, this group of donors is matching every dollar donated (up to $40,000) to help us stock our shelves with foods like tuna, peanut butter, chicken, and more. These foods keep us full and energized, and help make up a balanced meal.

“Protein-packed foods are always going to be the most expensive,” Wilken says, adding that last year we committed to always providing a dozen eggs to families who come to our Mobile Pantries. “But if we have a steady source of protein funding, and we can meet our commitments, and have funds to buy other in-demand foods, too.”

Every $1 you donate helps provide $7 worth of food due to our bulk purchasing power. And your gift to our Protein Challenge means that no matter what happens with price fluctuations, we’ll always be able to provide protein-rich, nourishing meals to our community.

Our Protein Challenge runs until March 31. Donate today and have your gift doubled, instantly!