A growing number of people in the US are turning to food banks for food.Fortunately, there are over 200 food banks that can help.
Feeding America has a network of food banks around the country that provides over three billion meals to almost every community. The Good Shepherd Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, is the largest hunger-relief organization. However, the question is, how do food banks really work?
In this post, we will discuss how food banks work and why the hunger rate in the US is stagnant despite the number of food banks and pantries in the country.
What is a Food Bank
To know how food banks work, it’s essential to understand first what a food bank is. A food bank is a distribution facility that stores, repackage, and distributes donated food to member organizations and charities.
Food banks acquire food from various sources, national and local ones, and food drives and individual donations are also accepted.
The Distribution Process
Local charities, soup kitchens, and other facilities often turn to food banks to get their source of nutritious foods.
Food banks provide various distribution methods. However, they also have a list of member organizations that receive food regularly. Moreover, they have a warehouse packed with goods that are available for pick up or delivery.
Do note that not all organizations can be a member. An organization needs to meet specific criteria to become eligible to receive food from a food bank, such as:
How it Works
Now that you know how food bank works in terms of the collection, packaging, and distribution, what happens next? People can come straight to a food bank and they will be able to leave with a bag of food.
You need to remember that these food banks are private organizations in which most of their funding comes from individuals.
Food Bank vs. Food Pantry
Many people confuse the two and think that the two are the same. No, they’re not the same.
A food bank is an organization that collects from the roof industry, food drives, and then stores it and distributes it to agencies. With this type of organization, it can distribute to millions of people. Food banks work directly with agencies to make it easier for them to acquire nutrition foods.
On the other hand, a food pantry is an individual site that distributes bags or boxes of food directly to people in need in a specific area. It is a member agency that acquires food from a food bank.
How to Help a Food Bank
It’s likely there’s a food bank near you and the good news? You can help! What you can do is to donate money to national food banks or you can give to a food bank in your area. Another thing you can do is to support businesses that donate to food banks.
If you’re up for it, you can also conduct food drives with your family and friends to support food-related charities in your area. There are a lot of ways you can help food banks today.
On the holidays, you can volunteer at a local soup kitchen or go on area missions. However, you need to remember that food banks don’t only need your help during the busy times of the year—they need help every day.
You can also find some other tasks you can help with, such as running a forklift, keeping the accounting books, building a website, and many more. Check out what kind of help your local food bank needs, and from there, you can help in your own way.
If you don’t have the time to volunteer, there are drop-off bins to get you started. Also, you can gather a box of emergency food for your family and keep it safe and make up another box where you can donate it.
In case you want to donate food, here are some of the best foods to give:
Food Banks & Hunger
Sure, food banks are helpful, but why is hunger not eliminated fully yet, specifically in the country? This is because of one thing—poverty. Despite hunger being addressed by food banks, other factors contribute to hunger, such as housing, health care, and wages.
If you think about it, the root cause of hunger is mainly poverty and in the food bank community, the support for the issues like healthcare, wages, and housing remains to be controversial, with many people prefer to deliver free food.
Due to the lack of support provides by food banks, it has reduces its impact, which is why there remains to be stagnancy in food insecurity rates.
It’s true that food banks have fed so many mouths, yet they failed to move the needed. Therefore, many people seek that food banks address the issues that drive hunger as well to improve the percentage and lessen the number of hungry mouths to feed in the US significantly.
Now that you know how food banks work, how do you choose to help? There are many ways to help fight hunger, as well as controversies surrounding food banks. Still, it doesn’t hurt to help in ways that you can to help many people in need, especially at a difficult time like this.
Even if you don’t have the time to volunteer, there are so many ways you can help food banks today. You can contact your local food bank or food pantry to find out how you can help. Or you can also go grocery shopping for healthy and nutritious foods to donate.
Be one of the people responsible for ending hunger today.