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Company Summary

Downtime isn’t an option for the Helping Harvest Food Bank. The Reading, Pennsylvania-based non-profit distributes more than 7 million pounds of food annually to more than 300 charitable food partners across Pennsylvania’s Berks and Schuylkill counties. At least half of the donations the food bank receives are fresh or frozen perishable goods, which require quick turnaround to be safely consumed by the 110,000 people who rely on food or meals from area food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, after-school programs, and senior housing facilities. This means the food bank depends on the reliability of its propane-powered forklift.

Using a single propane-powered forklift, in addition to a small fleet of electric walk-behind pallet jacks, is more efficient in meeting the food bank’s needs than using an all-electric fleet. With a 45,000 square-foot warehouse in addition to outdoor waste collection, the food bank needed a forklift fuel that required virtually no refueling time and could meet the non-stop supply-and-demand needs occurring both inside and outdoors. An electric forklift wouldn’t suffice, because they require long periods of downtime to recharge and couldn’t be used in Reading’s humid climate, which can have more than 40 inches of rainfall annually.

Equipment Fleet Profile

  • 1 propane-powered forklift.
  • 4 propane cylinders stored on-site.

Helping Harvest Food Bank Propane Highlights

  • 100 percent capacity on lifting and movement every time the forklift runs.
  • Minimal downtime to change cylinders.
  • Zero time lost due to power loss from low battery, or for recharging.
  • Fuel costs have stayed low and stable for propane while electric costs in Reading have risen.
  • Safe use indoors and outdoors, even during inclement weather.

They said it…

“To say our warehouse equipment gets used hard is an understatement because not only are we picking and loading to send out orders, but we’re also unloading that food when it comes in.” — Doug Long, manager of marketing and development for the Helping Harvest Food Bank.

“With propane, you run at 100 percent until the tank is empty, and then it takes you 2 to 5 minutes to change the tank and you’re back at 100 percent. That is one of the huge benefits that propane gives to us — that turnaround time and 100 percent capacity throughout the work day.” — Adam Winchester, operations manager for the Helping Harvest Food Bank.

“I definitely prefer a propane forklift, especially since at our facility we only have one forklift. It’s reliable. Day in and day out, it gets the job done.” — Adam Winchester.

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