During National Food Bank Week, it’s important to think of the people around us who go to bed hungry every night. Even though times are tough for many people, plenty of us still have enough money to at least feed ourselves and our families. We should always be grateful for how fortunate we are—to whatever degree of fortune that may be—and be sure to give when we can.
Giving during this observance isn’t enough, though; although food banks typically get more donations during the holidays, they are in need all year round. They usually accept donations of canned goods—especially vegetables, soups and canned protein, like beans—and dry goods like cereals and pasta. Some food banks also distribute personal items and may accept donations of personal care products, shampoos, deodorants and other toiletries.
If you can afford a little more, you might want to give some fresh fruits, juices or vegetables. Most food banks don’t carry much, if any, of these items because they are time sensitive and on the pricey side. When we volunteered at our local food pantry, I know they explained that many of the donations—nearly all of them, in fact—came from the local grocers who had items about to expire. Without room for them on the shelves anymore, they would give them to the food pantry—particularly baked goods.
That’s a pretty awesome fact in and of itself—we don’t think of stores in terms of giving much, but they do. But by the time fruits and vegetables are decayed to where they need to be removed from the store, they’re pretty much too rotten to eat.
When we go grocery shopping, we always try to grab a couple of extra cans of whatever we’re getting—from corn to soup to whatever—and drop them off in the donation bin on the way out, after we check out. It’s an easy way to simply give the gift of nutrition with a few dollars. Just think if every shopper contributed a single can—how many people could we then feed?
This week we’re going to make an effort to get some fresh apples and vegetables to take over to our food pantry. That way we’re giving the gift of fresh food instead—which many of the people who use food banks may not be used to receiving at all. If you find an extra couple of dollars this week, can you make a special trip to your local food bank for a quick drop off?