How Food Banks and Food Pantries Get Their Food

You likely know that food banks and food pantries are responsible for donating food to those in need. However, you may ask yourself where this food comes from in the first place. 

Keep reading this article to learn the different ways food banks and food pantries get their food.

#1 Food Donations to Food Banks

Food donations of non-perishable items, such as canned goods, are one of the most popular forms of food bank and food pantry donations. Communities, schools, and churches often start these donations. When it comes to produce, food banks and pantries will also receive crops from farmers. Not only does this help the cause, but it helps prevent these crops from going to waste, as many farmers have an overabundance. Grocery stores and restaurants are also responsible for many food items that are donated, especially things like meat, baked goods, or dairy.

Thanksgiving food donations

#2 Food Banks Purchase Food

When it comes to food items that are not donated as frequently, like perishables, food banks will often purchase the food that they deliver as part of their donations. That’s why many food banks encourage people to donate cash as opposed to physical donations. Not only does this provide people with food that complements a healthy lifestyle, but the cash can also be used towards the cost of picking up the food and transporting it to the communities that need it.

Groceries on table

#3 Food Banks Receive Food From Federal Programs

Federal programs like the United States Department of Agriculture are hugely responsible for food bank donations in the United States. In fact, just this year, the USDA has received approximately $550 million in base funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program.

How Food Banks Work With Food Pantries

So, what is the difference between a food bank and a food pantry and how do the two work together? A food bank is a non-profit organization. Its job is to collect the food items donated by individuals and store them in a safe place until they are ready to be delivered. Food pantries are in charge of delivering the food items straight to the people or communities of those who self-identify that they need services. Besides food, food pantries also deliver clothing and other personal items to those who need them.

How Can You Donate to a Food Bank or Food Pantry?

If you’re ready to make a donation to help those in need, you can easily do so here at Northern Illinois Food Bank. Visit our donate page and simply choose the amount you wish to donate. Every cent counts, so no matter how much you choose to donate, you are doing your part to help combat hunger. If you or someone you know needs our grocery services, be sure to place an order for pick up at My Pantry Express.