One of the primary consequences of poverty is the lack of access to a sufficient quantity of healthy and balanced food, which is what private charitable organizations, such as food banks, are trying to address. The fight against hunger is real. 

​This article discusses how food banks work, their impact on many individuals and families, and the unfortunate hunger cases that are continuously rising because of the Covid-19 pandemic

What is a Food Bank?

A food bank is a non-profit organization with the primary role of storing food donations from various sources and passing them on to charities (agencies) with direct access to people experiencing hunger. The goal is to supply and distribute food to hunger-relief foundations. It is also a network of programs run by volunteer agencies. Many of these organizations do a evert thing they can to relieve the hunger problem in the U.S. and beyond. 

There are numerous food banks operating in different regions in the country. They vary from small to large scale operations, depending on the number of connections throughout their network and the size of the population that is in need of assistance. Second Harvest here spans over several counties and supplies more than 100 local agencies.

How Does Food Banks Work?

The ability of food banks to provide people in need with essential food and commodities depends mostly on donations from individuals and other charitable organizations. It is truly a product of collective effort. 

Food banks collect food from several sources like: 

  • First-hand producers and farmers who donate fruits, vegetables, milk, etc. 
  • Companies in the food industry provide all kinds of products: dry, frozen, refrigerated, canned, etc. Like Walmart, Sysco, and other local grocery stores. 
  • The general public also donates money, goods, and non-perishable food. 

When the donations reach the food banks, they sort, manage, and store these food supplies in their warehouses with the greatest care for hygiene and food safety rules. The necessary equipment (facility, cold rooms, refrigerated trucks) are financed, such as operating costs by subsidies from communities, donations from companies, service clubs, and individuals.  

Fortunately, food banks are able to offer a wide variety of products and services to those who need them. People can enjoy food with all kinds of nutritious sources. This assistance aims to meet the basic needs of individuals who have difficulty eating or buying necessities to have a good quality of life. 

Distribution centers have always offered a free choice of what foods people can take with them. Thus, they leave the centers with products they have chosen from the different food categories: proteins, starches, vegetables, dairy products, etc. 

For most organizations, distribution is done weekly or monthly, i.e., people wishing to receive food aid must go to the establishment during the period scheduled for the distribution. Second Harvest themselves provides several Mobile Fresh locations throughout the month.  

Why Food Banks Are Important

The Fight on Hunger has been a lifelong issue that we will never give up fighting. But given the economic and social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, people need food aid even more. ​

More than half of households were already using aid measures like the national school meals program. The USDA said – In New York, for example, breakfast and lunch are free in schools. Despite the closure of schools since mid-March, the city has also set up distributions of free meals in front of the doors of 400 schools. And since the beginning of April, help has been open to all residents. San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties have been doing similar setups to make sure children are getting as much assistance as possible. 

The Need for Food Banks In Times of Covid-19 Pandemic

America’s food crisis was severe even before the Covid-19 pandemic. About 37 million people lived in households without sufficient resources to ensure constant access to enough food for active and healthy lives. 

The disastrous economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to leave tens of millions of people unable to purchase enough food to feed their families this holiday and probably until into the next year. 

During the quarantine/isolation period, food banks are particularly called upon to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people. Nationally, the demand for help in food banks and pantries has increased since the virus forced the economy to shut down, resulting in more than 40 million new jobless claims. We fear that the most recent escalation could create a similar lock down scenario like we saw earlier in the year. 

Because of the health crisis, hundreds of thousands of employees have been laid off. Likewise, thousands of self-employed people suddenly had to cease all their activities. Consequently, a large part of the population finds itself plunged into a situation where it can no longer meet its needs. 

Food banks have had to respond to agrowing and unforeseen demand for food aid like never before. 

Make A Difference Today!

What seems ordinary to some people may already be luxury and an essential provision for the most deprived. Food banks are the manifestation of the desire of individuals to help others and, therefore, create a better world. 

A large number of food distribution centers remain open to ensure continuity of food aid and, above all, to provide for families and assist them in their rehabilitation needs. 

If you or anyone you know wants to take part in mobilizing our objective to help reduce the hunger crisis in our country, visit us here to learn how food banks work and create an impact on the world!  

Written by: Second Harvest of the Greater Valley