Day #7: Give to a Food Bank

Today, we filled a bag with pasta, buttermilk pancake mix, and popcorn seeds – and took it to a local food bank. We also compiled a few things we are no longer using (an extra pillow, a skirt, a shirt, and some tupperware).

Community Resource and Food Pantry (here in Canyon Lake, TX) runs a thrift store onsite with the food bank so it was easy to donate both food and other items.

After being a police officer and prior to becoming a pastor, I worked in social services. There were a handful of times when I took someone to a food bank in order to get a food box. One of the things I will always remember is the lack of nutritious foods. There seemed to always be a lopsided amount of sugary food like cakes, donuts, and pies and a shortage on fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat. As such, we try to be intentional about the non-perishable foods we donate – rice, pasta, peanut butter, applesauce, etc.

Did you know you can also donate money to food banks as well as food? Often times they have matching donations and special purchasing privileges that allow them to buy more food for the dollar.

People (including us) often think of the food bank right around Christmas, but it’s important to remember that hunger lingers all year long – in February, May, and September.

Do you know where the nearest food bank is in your community? Have you ever donated food there? What kind of foods do you give?

Comments

  1. We have a food bank through our church… they collect specifically on months that have 5 Sundays with the 5th Sunday being Food Bank Sunday. I have heard that money given to a food bank can get a return 5 times greater than just giving the food you could buy with that money. Something to think about.

  2. I’ve received food from the food bank. There was a month at the end of last year that funds were short. I went to a local park where the food bank came once a month. One of the things that stood out was how there was this one lone loaf of gluten free bread sitting in this mound of bread. Gluten free bread is expensive so I rarely buy it for E(she is wheat, dairy, egg and nut allergic). It felt like a total gift within a gift to bring home gluten free bread for her along with other food for G and myself. God is present in the small stuff, indeed!

  3. You are so right that we hardly think of food banks when it is not Christmas or Thanksgiving. I think we will be putting together a bag to donate next week. And thanks for the reminder to include healthier options as well. I have been so excited to follow your journey to giving every day. I was a little apprehensive wondering if you guys would be doing huge things every day that seemed difficult for the average person, but I have been so pleased to see what you all have done each day. Each day has been things that anyone can do. None of it has taken exceptional amounts of money or connections with a huge organization. You guys have truly inspired me to get out and give more no matter how big or small the gift may seem it makes a huge difference to that person. Thanks for encouraging us all to give back through your actions!

  4. I am ashamed to say that I don’t know where it is and have never donated. Can you guess what google search I’ll be doing in a minute? Thanks for the constant reminders to give! I am coming to the conclusion that while you are giving, your true and “larger” service is setting the example for others to do the same. Not that we’ll all be taking off in a fifth wheel, but I bet more people like me will find ways at home to serve and give. Just imagine how many people will be finding their local food banks and donating because of your example today! Pretty awesome!

  5. Our church takes donations continuously & someone brings over the food each week. What I love is that local growers can donate their extra produce to the food shelf too. The apple orchard donates extra apples by the bagload and have wonderful volunteers who help pick them and anyone can donate extra food from their garden too. Of course, we donate money mostly because the food shelf can make it go so much further than we can ourselves.

  6. We give regularly through our church and at our local pantry (we have two in our town). Our daughter’s girl scout troop is looking into running a food drive next month to help fill the empty shelves. We think that if we stand outside our local grocery store with a list of what the shelters are looking for and hand the pieces of paper to the customers going into the store, hopefully they will pick up just one item, give it to us on the way out and we will hand deliver it to the pantry. I hope this event is a huge success!

  7. If you are still near Canyon Lake, you should try to eat at the Gristmill in Gruene, TX. It’s very close. Exit 191 off of I-35 between Austin and San Antonio. A little south of Canyon Lake. It’s a wonderful restaurant with fun live music next door at Gruene Hall. It’s a quaint town that basically has nothing but restaurants and antique stores! So fun! Safe travels!

  8. My husband and I volunteer for the Salvation Army food bank in Milwaukee. We take the boxes from food drives, go through the boxes to toss anything that has expired, and then sort the food into fruits, vegetables, meat, condiments, etc. We then box it up and organize it in the warehouse. It’s a huge job, especially in January and February after the traditional food drives in Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    A couple thing we’ve noticed: 1) People need to check expiration dates. We literally fill a dumpster every year with food that has expired. 2) As you said, think about healthy options. The food bank in Milwaukee gets very little canned fruit and applesauce is a wonderful donation. 3) Think about what the receiver can do with the food. Will he or she need to add fresh milk and butter to the boxed item to make it taste right, like for Kraft Mac & Cheese? Or can the food be used out of the box? One year, someone donated taco shells. Their heart was in the right place but could the person really have afforded taco seasoning and meat to use the taco shells??

  9. We usually seem to give canned goods and I have also noticed that it is mostly starchy stuff so I try to give veggies and tuna. The point Sarah makes about expiration dates is a good one. I never thought to check.
    I also have to admit that we have never given expressly to the food bank. It is usually when we are attending an event where they are taking donations.
    I was actually reminded at work the other night just how needed this is in our community right now.
    Thanks guys.

  10. I may be a little late to this party (I just found your blog via We Are That Family this morning), but something else that is often overlooked is soap and cleaning products. I was in charge of my church’s pantry until just recently. Numerous times we would have people ask for laundry soap or cleaning supplies like bleach. Or “feminine products.” Please don’t forget those things as well.

  11. I often give diapers to these organizations – I was made aware of the need by a newish local organization that I coordinated a diaper drive with. It’s Happy Bottoms :) http://happybottoms.org/

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