Food Banks Need Our Help -- But Not in the Way You'd Most Expect

Kim Conte

food bank truckRight now 49 million Americans are struggling to put nutritious food on the table for themselves and their families. That's a staggering statistic, especially when you consider it this way: 1 in 6 Americans are hungry. Now, more than ever, we are called on for help. But what exactly can we do to be most effective?

The knee-jerk reaction to helping in the fight against hunger is to organize a food drive or simply donate food to your food bank. But according to Ross Fraser, a spokesperson for Feeding America -- which is a national hunger-relief network of more than 200 food banks -- there's something even better you can do ...

Fraser explains:

Money is much more effective ... In fact, every $1 donated to the food bank provides the equivalent of 7 meals.

Put another way, say you went to the grocery store and bought a can of tuna to donate to your local food bank and after tax, the price came to $1.40. If you were to donate that money instead, the food bank -- which has cost agreements with local manufacturers, retailers, farmers, and government sources -- would be able to purchase about five cans of tuna to feed its clients.

As you can see, money donations really do go further than food donations in the long run.

But money isn't the only way to help. In fact, because September is Hunger Action Month, Feeding America has put together a list of "30 Ways in 30 Days" designed to give you ideas of how you can help fight against hunger. Here's a quick sampling of things you and your family can do to get involved:

1. Change your Facebook Status to show your support for Hunger Action Month.

2. Find your local food bank here; then get involved.

3. Cook a meal with your child while talking to them about hunger and healthy food.

4. Call your member of Congress and encourage them to support legislation that helps people struggling with hunger.

5. Try to spend only $7 on food for one day ($7 is the average food stamp allotment for one day).

6. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about hunger in your community.

7. Tweet about hunger.

8. Find and attend an event that benefits your local food bank.

9. Skip your morning latte and donate the savings to your food bank.

10. Promote Hunger Action month through your social networks.

To see the rest of the list, click here.

Do you volunteer at your local food bank?


Image via Walter Schwabe/Flickr


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