If you are trying to decide whether it’s the right time for you to access a food bank, this article can help. Many people hesitate to get help. Some people feel they should tough it out and survive on what’s in the cupboards until things get better. Other people don’t want to go to a food bank because they don’t want to take resources away from people who are in dire need. Some folks are just embarrassed to accept charity and so they go without. There are a lot of myths out there about who can access food banks.
However, if you are having trouble feeding yourself and your family, that’s the only reason you need! Surviving is not the same thing as thriving, and charity is all about spreading resources around between those who have enough and those who don’t. It’s okay to accept help if you need it. Here are the reasons why it might be time for you to access a food bank.
Trouble Focusing and Negative Mental Health
First and foremost, hunger is the only reason you need to visit a food bank. It’s okay to ask for help with groceries if you don’t have enough money for food. But if you’ve been putting it off and now it’s beginning to affect your mental health, then you should definitely access a food bank without shame.
You need to be able to focus and be present in your life. Food can play an important role in supporting your mental health. So if you are struggling to feel positive or make plans for the future, then it might be time for you to visit a local food bank. You can choose to visit the Second Harvest Food Bank just one time if you need help on a low week, or request an emergency food box. It’s also normal to visit the food bank several times per month.
Everyone’s situation is different, and you know best whether it’s time to accept help. You’re now experiencing a low moment, but you’ve probably been generous to others when you had more to give. Now, all you have to do is accept the gift of groceries from someone who has a little extra. Then you can take a deep breath and start to plan the future.
Choosing Between Food and Bills
No one should have to choose between feeding their family or keeping the lights on. If your limited budget means that you have had to sacrifice food in order to pay a bill, then it’s time to visit a food bank. By accepting some free groceries, you can pay your essential bills. That’s a great reason to access a food bank.
If you don’t like to take without giving back, then you can always volunteer. However, this isn’t necessary. There’s enough to go around! The Second Harvest Food Bank is a project that connects neighbors in need with free, local food sources. We invite you to come and meet your friendly neighborhood food bank volunteers and get the groceries you need.
San Joaquin County and the California State Department of Public Health have some recent updates. These are being provided to help keep you informed. You can click on the links to learn more!
Guidance for the Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission for Gatherings
SJ County Press Release
Most people think that a donation of canned goods is the only way to help a food bank. However, cash donations are equally important. When you donate food to a community pantry, you’re directly feeding people in need. But you’re also creating a large volume of groceries that will need to be stored and categorized properly so that they can be distributed. Financial donations help cover essential overhead costs that keep the food bank up and running.
Here are some ways that a local food bank could put your cash donation to good use.
Paying for Rent and Refrigeration
People in dense urban centers experience hunger just like people in rural communities. However, in cities, the rent for storage warehouses and the cost of electricity can be extremely high. Food banks need a safe and sanitary space to store tons of food donations. This space needs to be clean, large, and centrally located so that people can use public transportation to access it. Often, this means a high price tag for rent.
Have you ever considered how much refrigeration is necessary for a large food bank? If your own fridge holds enough food to feed your family for three days, consider how much refrigerator space is necessary to feed thousands of people for a single week. Reliable refrigeration can prolong the life of food donations and it’s an essential line of the food bank’s budget. Your cash donations help keep food cold and fresh until it’s ready to be distributed.
Food banks have unique access to farms, manufacturers, and other food suppliers. They can often get better deals on food than you can, partially thanks to their ability to purchase in bulk and closer to the food’s expiration date.
Not only can the food bank get food for cheaper, but they also know which items are necessary. For instance, it’s possible that the food bank has received a lot of canned beans but not enough fruit. By donating cash to a food bank, you empower the people on the ground to fill in the pantry gaps.
Paying a Project Manager or Office Coordinator
Many of the workers at the food bank are volunteers. But every food bank needs a staff of trained people (on payroll) who can organize donations, manage volunteers, fundraise, and handle visitors and food distribution onsite. To provide the best experience for clients, the office manager needs to be reliable and knowledgeable.
Your cash donations help train and support the people who make the food bank possible! From covering an honorarium for the volunteer coordinator to a salary for the onsite pantry manager, financial donations are essential to the smooth operations of every food bank.
If you’re interested in getting involved, there are plenty of ways to make a difference. Remember that cash donations and food donations are equally important to help feed our community. If you have just $1 to give, Second Harvest Food Bank can turn that dollar into $5 worth of groceries! Contact us today if you’re interested in volunteering or making a donation with Second Harvest Food Bank.