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How To Help Your Local Food Bank

Food Bank

First Posted: 11/29/10 03:44 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:15 PM ET

As unemployment benefits run out for millions of Americans, food banks across the nation are preparing to see more and more families and individuals turning to them for help.

To lend a hand, Americans can get involved with their local food bank to support and enhance these resources which are so vital to struggling, unemployed and hungry members of the community.

You can find your nearest food bank through the Feeding America website. Feeding America is a nation's largest hunger relief organization, connecting community food pantries in every state.

Contact your local Feeding America affiliate -- or any other local soup kitchen, food bank or shelter that you trust -- to find out what they need.

Depending on the specific needs of your community, you can help out in the following ways.

How To Help:

  • Drop off food items at your food bank. Most pantries will always accept extra nonperishable items such as canned foods and dried pastas at any time -- but call ahead to be sure!
  • Organize a community food drive. You can rally your neighbors to donate extra food from their cupboards or set up a collection station at your school, church, gym or any other community center. Feeding America offers tips and instructions about food drives.
  • You can also volunteer your time working at the food bank. By collecting donations, stocking shelves and passing out food items to the needy, you will help the organization serve the community efficiently. Find more information on volunteering online.
  • If you are able to, you can also contribute a monetary donation to the nearest food bank.

According to their wesbite, Feeding America advises donors that monetary contributions are especially helpful:

The best way to support hunger-relief in your community is by making a financial donation to your local food bank, and encouraging your friends to do the same. Your local Feeding America member can then utilize the buying power of the Feeding America network to acquire and ship healthy, nutritious food at deeply discounted rates.

Individuals can make a donation online to support Feeding America.

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Filed by Erica Liepmann  |