Donate Your Time To A Food Bank: Educate & Advocate
Did you know you can provide essential support to your local food banks and food pantries without ever leaving your house?
It starts with educating yourself on the issue, then using your knowledge to raise awareness within your community, engage local companies and even coordinate outreach to lawmakers and other leaders to encourage them to support policies and funding for food banks and other meal programs.
“Awareness is a great big need, especially in America, commented Scott. Because the idea of hunger existing in a wealthy country like the United States just doesnt make sense to a lot of people, and on the surface it may not seem to exist, but it is a reality.”
In fact, according to Feeding America, more than 35 million people in the U.S. struggled with hunger in 2019 and that number may increase to 50 million in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19.
Regardless of where you live, hunger is a problem, Scott stated. Its prevalent in all parts of the country, urban and rural. One of the big challenges of hunger is that its a well-hidden problem. Its not obvious a lot of times. People with food insecurity often go out of their way to conceal the problem.”
In fact, in parts of the state served by Feeding Missouri, there are areas with food insecurity rates of 30% or more that means roughly a third of the population is dealing with food insecurity. Even some farmers struggle with food insecurity.
The Best Foods For Food Donations
- Rowan University
There are a lot of food drives during the holidays. What food banks need most is cash, but when the Scouts come knocking at your door collecting food or youre asked to bring a non-perishable item as entrance to the schools holiday concert, food is in order.
NPR did a piece on the types of pantry staples that can help those who rely on food banks to build healthy meals. Food banks say the focus should be on on whole, unprocessed or minimally processed foods to help people create healthy meals. Instead of donating foods that are high in salt, sugar and highly processed grains, bring foods that are high in protein, healthy fats and whole grains instead.
Tell Me More About Your Operations
The Regional Food Bank is an independent, 501 non-profit corporation. A volunteer Board of Directors governs the organization. The Regional Food Bank employs a dedicated staff and involves thousands of volunteers in its work to feed hungry people. We have a satellite warehouse operation in Cornwall-on-the-Hudson, called Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, which serves agencies in six counties of the lower Hudson Valley area. We are not a government agency, and in fact, do not receive government money for our day-to-day operations, although we do administer certain government food programs.
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Where Does The Food Go
The Regional Food Bank supplies food to such nonprofit organizations as food pantries, senior centers, shelters, after-school programs, soup kitchens, low-income day care centers, and others. These programs turn our food into nutritious, balanced meals for thousands of men, women, and children who otherwise would not get enough to eat. The Food Bank serves about 1,000 member agencies at any given time.
What Is A Food Bank
First, some basics: A food bank is a large, centralized warehouse operation that supplies local food programs, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other organizations. A food pantry helps distribute food directly to those who do not have enough food to eat. Food pantries are sometimes set up like grocery stores, where individuals and families can select items theyll take home, or the pantry can provide pre-packed boxes of food and other supplies. Some food pantries do both or use different methods to distribute groceries to their local communities.
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Things Food Pantries Wish They Hadbut Might Not Ask For
New Hampshire has hundreds of food pantries. Here are some ways to help them help our neighbors in need
By Lois R. Shea, Senior Writer and Communications Officer | December 5, 2016
New Hampshire has almost as many food pantries and soup kitchens as it has cities and towns. Tucked away in churches and community service agencies, these organizations help feed tens of thousands of New Hampshire residents many of them elders, young children and the working poor every single day. The New Hampshire Food Bank, which distributes food to agencies statewide, estimates that 10.2 percent of New Hampshires population experiences food insecurity.
Many food pantries and soup kitchens have standing lists of needs. But we asked some folks working in those organizations what they really wished they had, or had more of, to distribute to people in need but that they might hesitate to ask for.
The staples are always needed, and always gratefully received: canned meats, pasta, beans and peanut butter, shelf-stable milk and cereal.
Here are 12 more things that folks told us they wished they had more of :
1. Spices. Dried beans and pasta can become soup if youve got spices. Italian spices, chili powder, cayenne pepper and cinnamon are pretty much universally appreciated. Consider buying in bulk it is much cheaper, and pantries can break it down into smaller quantities for distribution.
2. Soap, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper. Everyone needs them, SNAP and WIC dont cover them.
When Should I Come And Should I Come Early To Wait In Line
Our hours of operation vary by location, so please check each locations specific hours under the Get Food menu on our website. You should NOT plan to arrive early. Thank you for your cooperation with this request.
Please know that we are committed to providing you with the same quantity and quality of food no matter what time you arrive, and we will never run out of food.
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Is There Parking Available
Only street parking is available at our sites but all are easily accessible via public transportation. Clients who have a car may park in the loading zone with your flashers on for a brief period of time to load groceries.
Nourishing Hope has changed our lives. Thanks to the Pantry, we have healthy, colorful food every night for dinner and my kids have snacks to bring to school. I dont have to worry about what we will eat tomorrow, because Nourishing Hope is there to help.
Gloria, Nourishing Hope Client
How To Stock A Pantry
Here is my thought, I am going to post the least expensive foods, at least right now, that hopefully most people can afford. Some of us are already stocked with these, thats fine, but maybe you can help others to be prepared. Im not talking about water today, we know what we need. Four gallons per person per day is my recommendation.
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Get Free Food From Supermarkets
You can do the same with supermarkets. Big stores don’t work out well for this. Employees will almost always say: “My boss does not allow me to do that.” And you never get to speak that boss. Small supermarkets are much better and neighborhood stores. Many shops run by immigrants in big cities in the Western world are usually happy to give, especially shops ran by muslims.
Moneyless.org does not endorse the activity, but 10% of all US citizens have tried shoplifting. Never ever do this in a small store though. You don’t want to steal from a small shop owner.
Am I Eligible For Food Services
Our food access programs currently serve our neighbors whose incomes are below the governments guidelines. We do NOT require proof of income but you will sign an official form that states you meet the guidelines.
Until further notice, we do not have service area boundaries for our food programs except Home Delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic and are serving residents from throughout Chicago. The service area for our Home Delivery program is bounded by the following streets.
- North Avenue to the South
- Lakeshore Drive on the East
- Western Avenue on the West
- Bryn Mawr Street on the North
If you do not live within our area, please contact the Greater Chicago Food Depository at 773.247.3663 or www.chicagosfoodbank.org and click on Need Food to find an organization near you.
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What Do Food Banks Ask For
What: 3-day emergency parcel of long-life food, toiletries and household items: Typical parcels include: Cereal, soup, pasta, rice, tinned tomatoes/pasta sauce, lentils, beans and pulses, tinned meat, tinned vegetables, tea/coffee, tinned fruit, biscuits, UHT milk, fruit juice.
What should you not give to a food bank?
- Toiletries deodorant, toilet paper, shower gel, shaving gel, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, tooth paste, hand wipes.
- Household items laundry liquid detergent, laundry powder, washing up liquid.
- Feminine products sanitary towels and tampons.
- Baby supplies nappies, baby wipes and baby food.
Do food banks need toiletries?
Take a look at whats in a food parcel to see what items to donate, and dont forget that food banks also accept essential non-food items such as toiletries and hygiene products, helping people in crisis to maintain dignity and feel human again.
Is It Better To Give Food Or Money To Food Banks
The answer is that your food donation is definitely helpful, but you shouldnt forget about giving cash as well . In addition, food banks are able to look for discounts and purchase food at wholesale, which means they are able to get more out of that dollar than a person shopping retail probably could.
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People Need More Than Just Food
Most people will gladly donate food to a food bank or food drive. It is an easy way to make to help someone in need. After all, everyone has to eat.
Feeding America can help you find a food pantry in the US near you, and there are similar websites or apps in other countries. You can also find donation boxes in supermarkets or houses of worship too.
About one in eight people in the US are food insecure thats equal to the entire population of Canada and programs like Snap and WIC usually do not provide adequately for people’s needs. Food banks have to pick up the slack for many.
But food stamps will not cover toothpaste or baby diapers. These are necessary items that people need but may not have the funds to purchase. These types of supplies are frequently donated to homeless or domestic abuse shelters, but people who need help with living expenses because they are unemployed or underemployed need these items too.
You may not have thought of it, but you can donate other essential items to food pantries or food drives too. So, when you are in the supermarket and picking up extra canned goods for a food drive, also consider buying something from these nine non-food categories.
Find Out If Your Company Participates In A Matching Gift Program
Some large corporations have matching gift programs, in which theyâll match a donation you make to charity. If your employer offers such a program, fill out the paperwork and use your companyâs generosity to effectively double your donation. As the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S., Feeding America is a good place to think about making a donation .
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No Money Or Consciously Without Money
You might feel ashamed for not having money. But you can also accept it and live a rich life without it. The most important if you don’t have money is that you don’t feel ashamed about it. The fact that everyone around you does have money to eat doesn’t mean you are less worthy than them, or that you have to be afraid about what others think about you. These are paradoxes created by society. You don’t have to adhere to them. Especially if you’re moneyless. We have a lot more information about living with no money on our website.
Donate To Your Local Food Bank
Now that you have the knowledge, find a local food bank in your area and go donate!
Start with Google
A simple Google search for food bank near me might give you the answer you need. For example, I grew up with the Hunger Task Force in Wisconsin.
Feeding America Locator Tool
To find a food bank near you, try Feeding Americas easy locator tool. Just click the button below.
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Avoid These Donations At Food Banks
Not all donations are equal, and some are flat-out unsuitable. Here are some items to avoid.
- Expired items: Check the dates on your donations and only donate items that have not passed their best by or expiration dates.
- Perishable items: Items that need to be refrigerated or will spoil quickly. Most food banks simply do not have the storage space to handle these items. Examples include fresh meat and poultry, dairy products, and fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Leftovers: This is a food safety issue because food banks cannot verify ingredients or preparation, and the food isnt individually sealed. Keep leftovers at home with your family rather than trying to donate them to a food bank.
- Baked goods: Just like leftovers, this becomes a food safety issue that food banks simply arent equipped to handle. They have no way to confirm what ingredients were used or when the food was made, so they wont accept these donations.
- Damaged or fragile packaging: Cans with dents or bloating, bags with tears, or packages that are already open should be avoided. Do not donate food in glass containers either .
- There is nothing morally wrong with junk food, but nutritious food will serve your community best.
Get To Know What Your Local Food Bank Needs
Alexandra McMillan, founder of Legendary Community Club, a food justice group in south London, says people have asked for food for their pets, particularly cat and dog food. For Colchesters Beckett, donations of plastic bags clean and sturdy are welcome, and his warehouse manager loves it when people either drop donations off there, or get an online order delivered to our warehouse. Follow your local food bank on social media to get information about fundraising anything from larger events to donating raffle prizes.
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Whats Most Helpful To Donate: Food Or Money
Dont let your food go to waste, donate it! Donated food is always welcome however, money goes much further. Leveraging the power of our network, we can turn one dollar into approximately $7 worth of food. Receiving your donated funds also allows us to purchase food that fills the nutritional gap of donated foods.
The Bare Essentials That Food Pantries Need To Feed The Less Fortunate
One of the things that food bank institutions need but dont always ask for is money. Monetary donations are especially important, as they can be used to purchase food and other supplies.
The truth is, food pantries often face a shortage of funds, which can impact their ability to serve the community. Monetary donations allow them to purchase food and other necessary items, such as diapers and baby formula. They can also help food banks pay for transportation costs so that they can get food to those who need it.
In addition, monetary donations help food bank institutions cover the cost of operating expenses. This allows them to focus their resources on getting food to those who need it most. Monetary donations are an important way to support food pantries and the families they serve. It also allows them to pay for the staff who work regularly to keep the food bank running smoothly. Likewise, it also allows them to feed volunteers who devoted their free time to help at the food bank.
Donating money to a food pantry is a great way to help out, and its something that doesnt require you to do much work. You can simply donate money online or by mailing in a check.
And of course, donating food to a food bank is definitely the best way to help out. Food pantries always need donations, and theyre especially in need of healthy foods that are shelf-stable.
Some of the best food to donate to a food bank include:
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Things Food Banks Need But Wont Ask For :
Think about it. People who rely on the food bank eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, white bread, etc. They wont ask for it but they Need / Love spices! There is no need to ask, get: Seasoned Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, Cumin, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Oregano, Basil and so on.
Can you imagine being worried about affording these? Pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. Remember: Buy in bulk when donating! Its all about the numbers getting needed resources to those in need, at only a cents per person, your donation can make a big difference!
People dont feel they need it, and there for wont ask for it, but think about being in their shoes. If a little spice makes a big difference, how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar or brownie mix along with your essentials.
Grocery stores are great about donating surplus or unsold food, but they have no reason to donate toilet paper, tooth paste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Food stamps often dont cover these and they dont go bad or expire. This makes toiletries more difficult to come by, otherwise.
Canned meats and jerky
This isnt true of all food banks, but some struggle to give users enough protein.
Crackers and tortillas
They dont spoil and everybody likes them.
Diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby food, bottles, etc.