Editorial: Do your part to support food banks this fall

Published 11:42 am Friday, October 18, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

This week is National Food Bank Week, a great time to start thinking about helping others as the holiday season approaches.

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In the United States, one in nine people struggles with hunger, according to Feeding America — including more than 11 million children and nearly 5.4 million seniors.

There is enough food produced globally that no one should go hungry. Yet, around the world, 805 million live with hunger on a daily basis.

Hunger touches every community, including our own.

Unfortunately, food banks are a necessity.

As colder weather and the holidays arrive, food banks are in more need this time of the year.

There are numerous ways you can support local food banks, not only this week, but year-round:

  • Volunteer. Food banks often need help with sorting and stocking donations, but they may also need help on distribution days. Most food banks are volunteer-based; even an hour of your time could make a difference.
  • Host a food drive at your workplace. This holiday season, or really any time of the year, consider asking your coworkers to bring in donations for the local food bank. Maybe you can make it a contest and the person with the most donations gets some sort of award or prize. Perhaps you select one item — maybe it’s mac and cheese or canned green beans, etc. — and ask everyone to solicit donations from others in the community for those items. Making the drive fun and competitive could entice people to participate more.
  • Celebrate with a donation party. Maybe you or your children are celebrating a birthday and you don’t need any gifts. Ask party attendants to bring a donation for the food bank. You could also use food donations as entry items for events, so rather than purchasing a ticket, a donation of perhaps five canned goods would gain entry to some sort of community event.
  • Give money. If you have it spare, providing monetary donations to food banks is great way to give back. Food bank workers have ways to stretch monetary donations even further than you could imagine. If you’re looking for a way to honor a loved one or a friend, make a donation in their name.
  • Make donations of food you don’t need, but make sure it is something food banks can use. As you’re doing fall and winter cleaning, consider going through your pantry and parting ways with food you won’t be using. The most important thing is to make sure the food is not expired before making donations.
  • Plant an extra row in your garden that will go specifically to be donated to those in need.
  • Think beyond food. You can also make donations of hygiene products and household items like  laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, paper towels, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, etc. These are also items that people struggle to purchase.
  • Arrange to donate leftovers from parties to shelters. Although these donations won’t go to food banks, many homeless shelters welcome donations of leftovers from large parties that have been catered. These meals will help those who are struggling in your community.
  • Encourage others to make donations, too. A little help from many people will go a long way.

You can find more information about hunger in America and local food banks at feedingamerica.com.