Little contributions from lots of people make a huge difference, and nowhere more so than food banks.
Pulling together! It’s a really nice feeling. Little contributions from lots of people make a huge difference, and nowhere more so than food banks. With record numbers of families suffering COVID-related income dives, food banks are seeing skyrocketing requests for help–up to a 600% increase–and often, from families who have never patronized a food bank before. Yeah, it’s that bad.
Food banks tend to be efficient and resourceful and have risen to the challenge by diving into their stores and amping production, sometimes doubling or tripling their output. Cue the hero music! But, the bottom of the barrel is visible, and it’s a little scary. Hungry families need our support. Here are ten super painless, easy-to-do, big-bang-for-the-buck ways you can help. Right now. No fooling.
1. Patronize companies that will make a food bank donation based on purchases you will make anyway. Right now, it’s ultra hot to compete for online sales by offering charitable incentives, and that’s good news for charities! Look for companies willing to donate a percentage of sales to food banks and purchase away.
2. Take advantage of BOGO sales at the supermarket and donate your surplus to your local food bank. Two bags of stuffing for the price of one? Five cans of cranberry for $5? Holiday food sales are hot! And that means you can get great deals on traditional foods you probably won’t eat year round. Take the extras to the food bank.
3. Ask your employer to create a matching grant and donate cash to your local food bank. Food donations are always welcome, but cash is even better. It helps food banks purchase items specific to the needs of their community, like baby formula, and purchase items in bulk at deep discounts. At some food banks just $1 can provide up to seven meals.
4. Adopt a family through your local Salvation Army for Thanksgiving. You could even get a few families together and pool out who will provide what. If you give $20 for a turkey, can you find two other friends to chip in $10 for sides?
5. Clean out your pantry. The holidays are a great time of year to strip your pantry, wash down the shelves, and donate what you’ll never eat to your local food bank. Hint: check the expiration dates first.
6. Encourage your kids to hold a food drive at their school. Obviously, you’ll want to check with the admin first. Then, grab a huge box, let the kids decorate it, and set a deadline for when you’ll deliver donations to your local food bank. Write a blurb for your school newsletter and school Facebook page. It’s a nice touch to publicly thank donors and report how much you collected. It’s about 60 minutes of work for a result that really helps.
7. Ask your house of worship what programs they have in place to support local food banks. Suggest 1% of next week’s worship offering be dedicated to a local food bank.
8. Donate the money in your bedside change jar to your local food bank. It may seem like nickels and dimes to you, but to your food bank, it’s a treasure. (Remember seven meals for a buck?) To make it more fun, ask your kids to guess how much money is in the jar. Then, have the change counted and converted and find out who’s the winner! (Duh. The food bank. LOL)
9. Say yes to your grocery store’s round up program at the checkout. It’s only $.50 cents for you, but to food banks, it’s real food for hungry families.
10. Ask your kids for their ideas and take them seriously. Kids think outside the box and can be so generous when they know people need help. Watch them amaze you.