We have all experienced the dilemma of more month than money. For too many American families, this dilemma is so large, it impacts their ability to put food on their table. Financial troubles can spawn from only a handful of unfortunate events. A family’s well-being can be turned upside down in the time it takes for a job to be downsized, interest rates to go up, or a close family member to become seriously ill. There is a very simple way to combat this plague, ensuring no American goes to bed hungry: the Food Pantry.
Food Pantries take donations of non-perishable food, and then use income and other need based factors to redistribute the food among struggling families. Some areas call it Commodities, Food Bank, or another similar moniker. Both urban and rural communities have programs, just check local government listings. Food Pantry organizations receive their highest amount of donations during the holiday season, but truly need donations throughout the year. Here is where you come in – all it takes is a small time investment and you can run a food drive in your neighborhood, school, or apartment building.
1. Contact your local Food Pantry organization
Contact your local Food Pantry organization for details and verify they need donations. You should learn where to take the donation, and what hours the donation center is staffed. While rare, on occasion a large grocery chain will make a large donation, and the storage room is full. In that unlikely event, the staff should be able to point to another philanthropic organization that could use the non perishable food donation.
2. Advertise your food drive
The next step is to advertise your food drive. The simplest way to advertise is with inexpensive flyers printed at a copy shop posted on a community bulletin board, or slipped into door handles. A few Food Pantry organizations may have flyers for you to distribute, or can print them for you. Certain vital information must be included in the advertisement:
- The name of the organization receiving the donation.
- The manner in which the food will be picked up.
- The type of food accepted as donation.
- The date and time of the pick up.A small description of the organization may entice more participants. The definition of non-perishable food is a handy addition, and will prevent improper donations of fresh fruit, vegetables, or meats. It is up to you how you will collect donations– do you want to knock on doors, or ask participants to place goods in a grocery bag outside their door at the prescribed time? The best time to schedule a food drive is near the end of the month when many households are willing to clean out their personal pantry of food.
3. Make a quick trip to the Food Pantry’s donation center
At the designated time, round up all of the goods donated, and make a quick trip to the Food Pantry’s donation center. Try not to wait on delivery, or you will just end up with a trunk full of food donations for months. Make sure you receive a receipt, in case your neighbors wish to verify the food was delivered. That’s it, just a few hours of your time and you have managed to feed a number of families in need. Pat yourself on the back, and feel free to label yourself an enemy to hunger.
The value of programs like Food Pantry cannot be overlooked. By providing a few staples such as canned goods, sugar, salt, rice mixes, and other boxed food, the program can save a family anywhere from $50-$100 off their food bill. This may seem small, but it’s a significant amount to a family trying to make it on temporary disability or unemployment insurance.
This amount of money could go a long way to keeping on a utility bill, or keeping the family out of bankruptcy which hurts us all. By all indicators, the economy is drifting towards troubled waters ahead, and the only way we can all stay afloat is by depending on each other to toss a few lifesavers.