Food banks and food pantries play important roles to fight hunger. There are millions of people experiencing food insecurity and a food bank and a pantry continue to help these individuals. However, food banks and food pantries are often used interchangeably, but these are not the same.
What is the difference between a food bank and food pantry? Today, there are over 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries in the US. However, it’s easy to get confused between the two.
Don’t worry; in this post, we’ll discuss their differences to give you a clearer idea of what each one is and how you can help give back to the community!
A food bank is the “distributor,” or a centralized facility where food pantries can get their sources. It’s a non-profit organization that stores millions of pounds of food to be sent to local food programs.
However, food banks come in various sizes. There are some that are huge, while some are on the smaller end. Either way, the food these banks store is donated by grocery stores, local neighbors, and restaurants.
Furthermore, Feeding America connects food banks to a network of additional resources.
So basically, food banks function like a warehouse because they can hold a lot of food compared to food pantries. Aside from the local community’s food donations, food banks also purchase food in bulk or wholesale prices.
A food bank is a supply line that works through a network of food air partners and programs to distribute food to food pantries, soup kitchens, and many more. Food banks hire drivers to make the deliveries.
Aside from delivering canned goods, food banks also provide perishable items. Also, they also offer other services to help clients, such as educational initiatives to break poverty and improve quality of life. Other programs include local farm partnerships and nonprofit grocery stores.
Food banks may also provide additional resources through federally funded programs.
So, what is a food pantry? This is one of the places where food from the food bank goes. Every week, a food pantry feeds hundreds of people. However, every community is different; therefore, food pantries also vary in size.
Usually, you will find a food pantry inside a school because it makes it easier for kids and their families to get food.
There are also mobile food pantries that go around local communities with pre-packed boxes of food. These mobile food pantries help make food more accessible to those who are in need.
One way to tell the difference between a food bank and food pantry is that only one feed people directly, and that is a food pantry. It is also the responsibility of food pantries to seek and help local individuals and families receive food.
Food banks and food pantries are integral components to fight against hunger. The good thing is that there are so many ways you can give back to your community. You can volunteer at a local organization or even donate.