One in seven Americans rely on food banks, according to the Hunger in American 2014 study by Feeding America.  Almost half are working families.

I experienced this need myself when my children were young, and my income did not cover our basic expenses.  I was embarrassed to ask for help but was encouraged by a friend to accept the temporary assistance.  I found everyone at the food bank to be kind and caring and I was grateful for the support. Canned and bulk food supplies filled in the gap, so I could feed my family and still pay the utilities.

Over thirty years later, food banks offer much more than canned beans and baggies of bulk rice.

How are food banks addressing the cause of hunger in America?

The Ballard Food Bank offers cooking classes once a month.  Their website lists healthy budget-minded recipes.  They also contribute to the Weekend Backpack Program, which discreetly distributes bags of food to kids in need.

The Community Food Bank of New Jersey offers a free 15 week culinary and life skills program to students.  Their Food Service Training Academy has graduated over 2500 students, teaching skills that will provide a living-wage career.  Its job placement is over 90%

Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona was recognized by the Feeding America Network as Food Bank Member of the Year.  They are very active in community partnerships.  They’ve built a network of farmers and backyard gardeners to provide fresh produce, offer culinary and job skill training, teach sustainable gardening, offer resources beyond emergency food sources, and the list goes on.

The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina offers an innovative program called School Pantry Program.  It allows food insecure children and their families to receive food assistance for 15-20 meals on or near school grounds.

Are you are a family experiencing food insecurity?  If so, I encourage you to check out your local food bank to see what they offer.  If you are interested in helping others in need I encourage you to see how you can assist your local food bank.  We’re in this together…

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