Three brand new roller conveyor belts are making life easier for volunteers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Food Pantry, says Tom Bullaro, co-director of the Pantry along with his wife Anita.
“In recent years, Publix Supermarket Charities has been playing a major role in providing needed capital upgrades to the Pantry,” says Bullaro. “Their support has enabled us to provide the best service to our families.
“This most recent grant has enabled us to purchase three new roller conveyor belts,” he says. “These belts have made a huge difference in providing a safe environment for our volunteers in helping them do their work with greater ease, safety, and efficiency than before.”
According to Bullaro, the boxes of food we purchase, and then unpack, from Feeding Tampa Bay — as well as the boxes of food we distribute to our families — are extremely heavy. Most likely, each weighs 40 to 50 pounds or maybe much more. And there are hundreds of them.
Not lifting these boxes when unpacking our truck is impossible, Bullaro says. To keep the lifting to a minimum, in the past, however, volunteers would first set up a series of heavy work horses and folding tables between the truck and the interior of the Pantry where the food was to be stored. Then they would lift heavy trolleys on top of the tables.
Once a box could be placed on the trolley, it could be rolled from place to place. The contents of the box could then be sorted and stored on shelves for distribution on the weekend.
“Now, all we have to do is roll out our new conveyor belts,” says Bullaro. “The belts collapse so they can be stored easily when not in use. When we need them, we simply roll them out, hook them on to one another, and we are in business.
“On Saturday mornings, everything is reversed,” he says. “Instead of setting up work horses and tables, and lifting trolleys on top so we could move food from the interior of the Pantry to our families' cars, we just roll out our new conveyor belts!
“Thank you again, Publix, for everything you do for us,” says Bullaro. “With this new purchase, you have made our day!”