DONATE FOOD TO A FOOD PANTRY
When you purchase groceries, buy a few extra jars or cans of food and take them to your neighborhood food pantry.
Peanut butter is my favorite choice. It’s shelf stable so needs no refrigeration. That makes it good for homeless people. It doesn’t spoil quickly so it can be used by a household with one or ten people. It doesn’t require a lot of chewing so it’s good for a person with no teeth. In short, peanut butter is a perfect food choice for a food pantry.
However, if you would rather choose another item, go with whatever you want to give. Whatever you choose, it will be selected by someone shopping in the pantry.
CLEAN OUT YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS
Give the unused items to your local food pantry.
HOST A FOOD DRIVE
Invite your friends and neighbors to help you collect food for your local food pantry.
DONATE CLEAN EGG CARTONS AND REUSABLE SHOPPING BAGS TO YOUR FOOD PANTRY.
Food pantries are always in need of shopping bags and egg cartons. Eggs coming to a food pantry usually come in cases – without the cartons.
Shopping bags are not usually found on food pantry shopping lists.
CLEAN OUT THAT CLOSET!
Take your gently used clothing and bedding to a pantry or soup kitchen for distribution. I recently learned that the clothing item most needed in shelters is socks.
I also learned that women’s shelters are always in need of bras.
In the Albany, New York, area, you can send gently used or new women’s bras to:
YWCA – Greater Capitol Region
21 First Street
Troy, New York 12180
CELEBRATE YOUR BIRTHDAY.
Invite people to a party and ask them to give donations to a food pantry instead of a gift.
GIVE A LITTLE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
Make a regular donation to a food pantry. This translates to sending a check or gas card every month or quarter.
CONTACT ELECTED OFFICIALS AND PERSONS OF INFLUENCE.
Motivate them to make ending hunger and homelessness a priority. Encourage them to support fair wages and benefits for workers.
READ A BOOK.
“Take This Bread” by Sara Miles, “Under the Overpass” by Mike Yankoski, “I am Your Neighbor” by David R. Brown and Roger Wright, and “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” by Thurman Greco are four books which tell revealing stories about hungry people in America.
START A SCHOOL BACKPACK PROGRAM.
Backpack programs send food home on Friday afternoons to households where children would not otherwise eat over the weekend without the donated foods.
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“How dare you feed this kind of food to these people? If they’re hungry enough they’ll eat anything.”
“That woman has a car and her son has a job. She shouldn’t get pantry food.”
“How dare you serve this much food to those kinds of people?”
The “are they hungry” issue looms large in food pantry conflicts. The fears are many and boil down to this:
1. Financially comfortable people will shop at a pantry when they actually have the money to go to a supermarket.
2. Riffraff are going to take the pantry food and sell it.
3. Many people shopping at a pantry wouldn’t need to come to a pantry if they managed their money better.
Very few people are comfortable with the concept that pantry volunteers give the food away…no strings attached. An unspoken concept here is that the hungry, the struggling class, individually and as a group should be punished for being the downtrodden.
Sometimes when I try to sort the whole thing out in my head, I’m reminded of the chicken yard my grandmother had during World War II. Occasionally, a chicken would be ill and the other chickens would begin to peck at it. If the chicken didn’t get well, it would be pecked to death.
For me, this is simply not an issue. I welcome all shoppers. They don’t have to be destitute although I did see many hungry people in a pantry. Pantry shoppers everywhere routinely endure
uncomfortable waiting conditions
lack of choice.
The lines in a pantry can routinely be longer than an hour. The hungry wait in line whether it’s raining, snowing, or if there are broiling summer temperatures. Outside pantry buildings, there is little or no protection from the elements.
The hungry wait in these lines to have access to about 30 different food products. Compare that number to a trip to your local super market with it’s 10,000 or more items to choose from.
And, finally, if I ever could take the attitude that hungry people must have done something wrong and don’t deserve that kind of food, I remember the time I foolishly asked a child in line in the basement of the Woodstock Reformed Church about Christmas.
Santa doesn’t come to families that stand in the pantry line.
Thanks for reading this blog/book.
The story is true. The people are real.
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