How Our Food Bank Works

This is the place to learn about the ways FOOD Share, Ventura County’s Food Bank, receives, manages, and distributes food.

Product Flow


Donated product arrives from the food service industry, retailers, manufacturers, distributors, growers, processors and food drives.

How FOOD Share Works

FOOD Share

The Food Bank collects, inventories and inspects product for distribution to more than 150 nonprofit partner agencies in Ventura County.

How FOOD Share Works

People In Need

Deserving people in all walks of life are benefited by our services. Recipients include working poor families, children, the elderly, disabled and mentally ill.

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DONATED GOODS: The primary source of food products made available at FOOD Share are donations from local grocery stores, supermarket chains, food manufacturers and distributors, the government, foundations, local farmers, harvesting efforts, food drives and private individuals. FOOD Share welcomes any donation of nutritious products or produce.

COUNTYWIDE FOOD DRIVES: There are many types and sizes of food drives that are held for Food Share. The two biggest food drives of the year are the Postal Carriers’ and the Holiday food drives. The Postal Carriers’ food drive allows the citizens of our county to donate food on a designated Saturday by putting the items out for their mail carrier to collect and bring back to the local post office. During our Holiday food drive, Food Share partners with local businesses, schools, service clubs, and places of worship to collect funds and food for our hungry neighbors.

GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS: Food Share coordinates both The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) for Ventura County. Through these programs, the Food Bank distributes USDA commodities and other food products under administrative contracts with state and federal authorities.

FEEDING AMERICA: Food Share is a member of a national network of over 200 food banks across the county. This membership allows us to tap into a larger pool of food resources.

GLEANING: FOOD Share relies on its connections with the Ventura County agricultural industry to procure fresh produce. This program coordinates a wide range of volunteer groups to glean fresh produce and channels this food to member agencies and vital programs

BULK PURCHASING: Although bulk purchases account for less than 10% of all of the products FOOD Share distributes, strategic purchases of staples and high demand items that are rarely donated are made throughout the year. Agencies are asked to pay substantially less than it would cost to purchase from a retail outlet. In the event that one or more agencies receives a grant of funds that they would like to use to purchase specific kinds of products, FOOD Share may be able to assist the agency to obtain the most favorable bulk purchase arrangement available to them. Agencies interested in this possibility should contact the Agency Relations Director for assistance.

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FOOD Share owns and operates 26,482 square feet of warehouse space. The warehouse includes a 1,176 square foot cooler and 1,176 square foot freezer, 1 loading dock, 934 pallet positions, 23 pieces of material handling equipment and 15 trucks.

There are 13 FOOD Share employees operating the warehouse and driving FOOD Share trucks. The warehouse depends greatly on the organization and teamwork of the warehouse employees, who are dedicated to keeping the warehouse clean and orderly.

• The warehouse receives 31,325 pounds of food a day
• The freezer is 17,640 cubic feet, which is equivalent to 1,176 household freezers
• The cooler is 17,640 cubic feet, which is equivalent to 802 household refrigerators
• The Food Bank utilizes 1 tractor, 3 pick-up trucks, 9 box trucks and 2 straight trucks
• FOOD Share trucks drove 88,217 miles in FY 2010
• FOOD Share trucks used 11,181 gallons of fuel

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Agencies “shop” at the FOOD Share warehouse throughout the week. For agencies who receive USDA commodities, their additional monthly reports determine the types and quantities of government commodities that are added to their shopping orders. To ensure safety of shoppers, FOOD Share staff, and to preserve the high quality of available foods, shoppers are required to follow specific shopping guidelines (link to document) and the Warehouse Code of Conduct (link to document) during their shopping appointments and open shopping periods.

Each Agency’s Weekly Shopping Hour is Scheduled by Appointment between the following hours:
Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, between 8:00 AM and 2:00 PM
Wednesday and Friday, between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM

All Agency Open Shopping for Perishables Only (Produce, Dairy, Deli, and Bread) is offered twice a week as follows:
Fridays and Wednesdays, between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM

Fee Schedule: General shared maintenance fee: $.18 per pound.
Fresh produce: Free of charge.
Dairy: Free of charge.
Bread and pastries: Free of charge.
Bulk Purchase: As designated.

What Are Shared Maintenance Fees?
The shared maintenance fee is not a charge for the product itself, but is actually a fee for handling the products. This is in accordance with IRS tax specifications, under the 170(e)3 regulation. Such a fee can be charged to agencies, but cannot be passed along to the end user of services as determined by the charitable purpose of that agency. That is, charges incurred by the agency receiving food cannot be passed on to the consumer of the products.

The shared maintenance fee allows participating agencies to help share the expense incurred by FOOD Share in transporting, storing, and distributing donated, salvage, and bulk purchased foods safely and equitably. The shared maintenance fee makes it possible for FOOD Share to acquire and properly handle the quantity and variety of foods we need to have on hand for distribution to our member agencies.

Delivery Rate Schedule:
If a food delivery is made by FOOD Share staff, the following fees apply:
$20 – (El Rio, Oxnard, Port Hueneme)
$35 – (Camarillo, Newbury Park, Moorpark, Santa Paula, Fillmore, Ventura)
$50 – (Ojai, Piru, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks)

Deliveries may only be arranged in advance with the Logistics and Inventory Control Manager, and are subject to the availability of equipment and staff. Delivery fees offset the actual costs incurred by FOOD Share to deliver ordered food to the various cities in our County. This rate schedule became effective in January of 2009. If you have any questions please ask the Agency Relations Director, 983-7100 ext. 134 or the Logistics and Inventory Control Manager, 983-7100 ext. 141.

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Agencies will be issued an invoice when they complete their shopping. To ensure that any inadvertent errors are immediately corrected, please review invoices before signing them. Please be sure to sign your invoices prior to leaving FOOD Share. Agencies receiving deliveries will receive an invoice that they must sign and return to FOOD Share with the staff making the delivery. Please retain all of your shopping invoices so that you can confirm and reconcile your account.

Food Share statements are mailed around the first of each month. Agencies are billed on a monthly basis for the fees incurred the previous month. The statement balance is found at the bottom of the page. Statements are payable upon receipt. If your statement shows a credit balance, please do not pay your statement until there in no longer a negative balance. Please include the statement coupon with your payment so that your payment is applied to the correct account. Please make checks payable to the FOOD Share. Billing questions may be addressed with FOOD Share’s Finance Assistant at 983-7100, Extension 109.

Payment Methods:
In order for our accounting department to remain efficient and compliant with our auditing standards, please note the following policy. All payments made towards your agency account must be submitted via check or money order. No cash payments will be accepted. If you have any questions please call our accounting department at 983-7100, ext 109.

Download and print a copy of how FOOD Share works