Back in November, I posted This post about hunger in Oregon, and the Oregon Food Bank. Since many of my readers are not from Oregon, I also linked that post to Feeding America, a national organization that collects food donations, and cash, and distributes those donations to a variety of food banks and pantry's.
Feeding America also has a page on their site where you can find YOUR local food bank or food pantry if you would prefer to donate food to a local organization.
One of the most valuable features of the Feeding America site is the statistics provided about food insecurity and hunger in each state. For example:
The food insecurity rate in Alabama is 17.8% of the population, but the CHILD food insecurity rate is 26.6%.
In California, a place many think of as fairly wealthy, the rates are similar at 16.7% and 27.3%.
North Carolina comes in at 18.2% and 27.3%, respectively.
What do those numbers mean? They mean that about 20% of the population is food insecure, meaning they do not know that they will have access to a meal, and may skip meals due to that lack of access. They may be required to use alternate methods to find food, including dumpster diving, food banks or theft.
Many of the children in our country receive food, often breakfast and lunch, through free or reduced cost lunch programs through their schools. In some cases, this is the only food the children have regular access to. Their families may not be able to provide them with dinner and snacks every day, too.
I mention this in particular, because many states are heading into Winter Break for schools. These children will no longer have access to these meals through the Winter Break. How fun are the holidays if you are hungry and miserable? Not that fun. Especially when you see everyone around you filling themselves up with cookies and egg nog. All the holiday commercials on TV show families having big feasts. This is not a fun time if there are no cookies and egg nog or a big family feast in your future.
$1 = 8 Meals through Feeding America.
$12 = Breakfast for a child for 3 months.
$45 = Meals for a family of four for one month.
$50 = Holiday meals for 100 families.
$80 = 800 pounds of fruits and vegetables.
$100 = Holiday meals for 200 families.
As you can see, your monetary donation to Feeding America, or other local food banks, goes a long way. Of course you can also donate non-perishable food items. Some of the most in-demand items are:
There are MANY ways to donate food or money to help feed the hungry, especially this time of year. There are donation sites at many grocery stores, churches and businesses. Food banks are always looking for volunteers to help sort and pack food. But also, keep in mind ways you can help throughout the year. Many food banks now have community gardens, where the produce grown is given to local families in need. These community gardens need gardeners to help plant, fertilize, water, weed, cultivate and harvest the veggies. Perhaps your local church has a food drive event, or if you are a business owner, perhaps you can organize a food fund drive.
I encourage you, especially if putting food on your table is not something you have to worry about each day, please consider making a donation to a food bank or food pantry.
A little goes a long way in fighting hunger.