On the first Friday of September, we celebrate National Food Bank Day, a day dedicated to the idea that no one should go to bed hungry. This day was established by St. Mary’s Food Bank, the world’s first food bank, to commemorate its founding and to celebrate the contributions of food banks.
There are many reasons that people involuntarily go hungry or face food insecurity: joblessness, homelessness, and illness can affect anyone. It’s hard to tell which of the people around us are unable to obtain enough food. Children are especially affected; for some kids, the only meals they get are those provided by schools.
Food banks help to provide food for those who need it, by making donated food available; nearly one in seven adults and children depend on food banks in the United States. The situation got worse during the pandemic; by some estimates, as many as one in five were served by food banks.
Many food banks report that they don’t have enough food to adequately serve those who depend on them. Donations were down, and utilization was up, leading to a shortage in food availability.
What can we do to help? Food banks need food. If you’re able, make a donation. They also need staff. If you have time, contact a local food bank and volunteer. Food drives are an excellent way to refill a food bank. Organize one in your area to boost food supplies.
Resources: 11 Facts About Food Banks. https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-food-banks
Food Insecurity In The U.S. By The Numbers: https://www.npr.org/2020/09/27/912486921/food-insecurity-in-the-u-s-by-the-numbers
Hunger Crisis: 1 in 5 Americans Turning to Food Banks: https://www.consumerreports.org/food/americans-turning-to-food-banks-during-the-pandemic-a6629016730/
Capital Area Food Bank: https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/hunger-in-our-region/
Feeding America: https://www.feedingamerica.org/take-action/coronavirus
Organize a Food Drive: https://createthegood.aarp.org/volunteer-guides/organize-food-drive.html
Food For Neighbors: https://www.foodforneighbors.org/donate/
Find a Food Pantry: https://www.foodpantries.org/ci/va-reston