Here’s How You Can Contribute to National Food Bank Day
Did you know that the first Friday of every September is National Food Bank Day?
This is a day that brings awareness to the continuing problem of hunger within our global community. This year, National Food Bank Day occurs on September 6th. And while food banks do receive attention and canned goods on days like these and other national holidays, the issue of food scarcity is, for many, a concern throughout the year.
We live in a fast-paced world where it can be exceedingly easy to bury ourselves in our smart phones and forget about the struggles within our own community. There are over 40 million citizens of the United States alone that are living in homes with food insecurity.
These citizens may be closer than you think, whether it’s a neighbor or a coworker having trouble making ends meet.
While donating canned goods to your local food bank can help immensely, there are many other ways to help your community flourish! Let’s take a look at how you can get involved today!
Call Your Local Food Bank
Food banks often receive canned goods and nonperishable foods, but certain staples are often overlooked, such as spices. It’s always a good idea to call your local food bank and see what items are needed most. Ask about hygiene items as well, such as soaps and toothbrushes, which are often needed but rarely donated. The food bank will also give you a list of the items that they cannot safely accept.
Check Your Pantry
There may be nonperishable items that you no longer want or need that could greatly help another family. Look through your shelves for anything you might otherwise toss or leave to collect dust and donate it to your local food bank.
If you have the means, monetary donations are extremely beneficial for food banks, who can use the money to purchase nutritious food at a considerable discount. According to Feeding America, a donation of $1 provides 10 meals. You can easily make donations here.
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Get the Community Involved
You could host a donation party or even organize a community-based food drive. Have your friends and neighbors over for a home-cooked meal and ask them to bring a small donation. This is a great way to spend time with loved ones while helping your community.
Call your local food bank for safety tips and advice on what they can accept and what is most needed. Feeding America has an excellent guide for hosting food banks and fundraisers within your community. This can be a great way to not only provide more donations for those in need, but to provide local awareness of this issue. When any one of our neighbors is hungry, we should all be concerned.
Give Your Time
Canned goods and nonperishable foods are certainly welcomed and needed by food banks, but most of these organizations also need plenty of volunteers to run smoothly. In fact, 51% of every food program needs volunteers to operate.
Giving even a few hours of your time to a local food bank can go a long way - but the more time you have to give, the better. You can also check to see if your local meal center is in need of volunteers. There are many jobs that need to get done in order for these organizations to run smoothly, so let them know if you have certain technical skills that may be of assistance.
Utilize Social Media
Social media can be a double-edged sword in our society, but it’s important that we embrace the good it can provide. Use #NationalFoodBankDay to bring attention to your local food bank, as well as awareness of the ongoing issue of food insecurity.
Keep the Spirit Alive
Remind yourself that many people face hunger all year. Food banks receive more attention around the holidays, but this is certainly not the only time of year to be concerned. You can make a monthly tradition or routine out of giving, stopping by the food bank to donate or volunteer at least once a month. Check your pantry frequently or take advantage of sales on items that your local food bank needs the most. If you have children, this is an excellent experience to teach them compassion and the spirit of generosity.
It can be easy to forget about the very real issue of food insecurity while eating a hot meal. Giving anything you can to the cause and spreading awareness are two great ways to help combat this problem.
Happy National Food Bank Day!
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