September is Hunger Action Month: What is a Food Bank?

September is Hunger Action Month, a month to dedicate action to fighting hunger.

How can you help? Supporting your local food bank is a step in the best direction to feeding your neighbors, feeding South Jersey and feeding America.

What is a food bank?

For communities throughout the United States, food banks are vital resources for nutrition, wellness and sustainability. The Food Bank of South Jersey is a Feeding America food bank serving Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties. Feeding America shares these quick points to understanding what a food bank is – and why it matters.

  • A food bank is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to hunger-relief charities. Food banks act as food storage and distribution depots for smaller front line agencies; and usually do not themselves give out food directly to people struggling with hunger.
  • Food banks in the U.S. are very diverse – from small operations serving people spread out across large rural areas to very large facilities that store and distribute many millions of pounds of food each year, and everything in between. A variety of factors impact how food banks work, from the size of the facility to the number of staff members. But, one thing all food banks have in common is that they rely on donors and volunteers to carry out their day-to-day operations.
  • A food bank is the warehouse for millions of pounds of food and other products that go out to the community. A food pantry functions as the arms that reach out to that community directly. Some use mobile food pantries, which reach people in areas of high need.
  •  How does the Feeding America network of food banks work – including the Food Bank of South Jersey, a leading Feeding America food bank and South Jersey’s largest hunger-relief organization? Getting nourishing, safe food to people facing hunger requires a robust infrastructure and a high degree of coordination. Feeding America secures donations from national food and grocery manufacturers, retailers, shippers, packers and growers and from government agencies and other organizations. The Feeding America network of food banks, including the Food Bank of South Jersey, receive and safely store donated food and grocery products. Feeding America supports member food banks with training, oversight and equipment grants to ensure perishable and non-perishable food is handled and stored properly.
  • How big is Feeding America? Feeding America is a nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs that provides food and services to people each year. Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. When you contribute to Feeding America, you are joining our efforts in nearly every community in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. When you contribute to the Food Bank of South Jersey, you are supporting the 1 in 9 adults and 1 in every 8 children living in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Salem counties who live – every day – facing the challenge of food insecurity.

This Hunger Action Month, get to know your local food bank. Supporting your local food bank supports the mission of Feeding America to provide hunger relief to those who need it most – our neighbors, our family, our friends.