With the prevalence of the pandemic, food insecurity is on the rise. According to the ENUF, 10 percent of households were food insecure in 2016. This number is only expected to grow.
You can make a tangible impact on the quality of people’s lives by choosing to donate to a food bank near you. The best part is, it’s actually easier than you think. Read on to learn how!
What Is Food Insecurity?
It first helps to know what food security is and how your food bank donations can change the lives of families and individuals who are struggling. The USDA defines food insecurity as the lack of consistent access to food in order to lead an active and healthy life.
It’s important to remember that even people above the poverty line can experience food insecurity. It can also range on a four-level spectrum. The highest level has no anxieties about consistent access to food. On the lowest level, food intake is reduced at some point during the year because of a lack of money and resources.
By donating to local food banks, you’re aiding families and individuals that would normally suffer alone through their lack of access to food.
How do food bank work?
Now that you know what food insecurity is, donating to food banks is one of the best ways to help out. You can find over 2,000 in the UK alone. Here are our tips on how to get started:
Using a Food Bank
The easiest way to begin is to find a local food bank. The Trussell Trust has the largest network of food banks that you’re able to search for on their website by typing in your zip code or state. They’ll show you the closest food banks to you if there are ones nearby. If you can’t find one through this site, you still have a variety of options.
City Harvest London helps collect surpluses of food from local restaurants. After collecting this high-quality food, they make sure it’s redistributed to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, refuges for women experiencing domestic violence, and more.
Independent Food Aid Network is a great option if you want to be involved in the advocacy for food security across the UK. They have a vision of a world where good food is readily accessible to all, and they strive for this vision by giving independent food aid providers a voice.
The Felix Project collects fresh and high-quality surplus food that isn’t able to be sold in regular markets. Once they’ve collected the food, they provide a free door-to-door service to deliver to charities and suppliers.
What to Donate
Once you find a food bank near your home, make sure to check out their website or call ahead to learn about their coronavirus precautions. If you check out their website, they may also have a list of items that they need. However, most food banks will accept:
- Peanut butter
- Canned soup
- Canned vegetables
- Canned fruit
- Canned fish
- Canned beans
You can see that all of these items are shelf-stable and non-perishable. This makes it easier to store and ensure that everyone is given high-quality food that hasn’t gone bad. Remember that food banks may also accept items that aren’t food as well, such as toiletries and household items.
For these items, it’s even more important that you call or check ahead so that you’re giving them items that they’re able to accept. If you’re still struggling to decide what to donate, take a look at your own pantry and think about the recipes you make multiple times a month.
Chances are, families and individuals who are struggling would appreciate these pantry items too!
What Not to Donate
Although the items food banks accept can differ, there are a few set rules. If you try to donate any of the below, food banks can’t accept them: Items that need refrigeration
Your local food bank may not have the freezer or refrigeration space needed to properly store these items. They may be working with retailers and other organizations in order to source fresh food. Expired food
Even if you’re donating canned food, make sure it hasn’t gone past the “use by” or “sell by” date. Food with packaging concerns
Food banks can’t accept donations when there are concerns about the packaging and how fresh the food is inside. For instance, if the packaging is ripped or a can is severely dented, it’s better not to donate it as the food could be spoiled or tainted.
Cash Donations and Volunteering
Even if you don’t have food to donate, you can still do a lot of good by giving a cash donation. This enables food banks to purchase items that they’re lacking. Many organizations allow you to become a monthly door with automated payments that you can keep track of and deduct from your taxes.
You can also start online fundraisers for your favourite charities or ask friends and family to donate to a food bank charity for your birthday or special occasions. If you don’t have anything to donate, you can also give your time by volunteering for any organization you find.
When it comes to helping those in need, you have a variety of options.
Helping Those in Need
By choosing to donate to a food bank, you’re helping struggling individuals and families combat food insecurity. It’s important to remember that even people that are above the poverty line may struggle with food insecurity at least once a year. They feel anxious about food or cut their intake in order to save money and pay off bills and debt.
Families, neighbours, and your community need your help. Continued support for food banks is essential to keeping our local communities alive during the Coronavirus outbreak. Donate and volunteer today.
Also, If you have questions about donating or volunteering, be sure to subscribe to our monthly newsletter or if own a charity organisation and want to set up a food bank for your community? Contact us today to get started.