Much that is written, said, and believed about food pantries is simply not true. Maybe the problems themselves are somehow created by those of us who work at the food pantries. I admit it. I encounter people all the time who believe things about pantries that are simply untrue. I’ve been listening to these people for 10 years.
And, somehow, I’ve been unable to dispel these fallacies. I listen. I talk to the people. I certainly have the facts. I have the statistics. I have the stories. Somehow, they just don’t seem to hear the real story.
So, now, with this post, I’m hoping to debunk 3 myths anyway.
FOOD PANTRIES FEED A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON’T NEED THE FOOD.
I don’t know how this rumor got started. In the last few years many, many more people have been using food pantries than in times past. Many pantries have long waiting lines for the hungry. No one goes to a food pantry unnecessarily. The waits are too long, the selection is often minimal.
THANKSGIVING IS THE BEST TIME TO DONATE FOOD TO A FOOD PANTRY BECAUSE PEOPLE GO TO FOOD PANTRIES DURING THE HOLIDAYS MORE THAN ANY OTHER TIME OF YEAR.
Food pantries need your donations of food/expertise/time/money all year long. People don’t just get hungry in November.
Frankly, the neediest time of the year for pantries/soup kitchens/shelters is August. Summers are pretty lean but August is severe. Pantries need your canned/baked goods, shelf staples all year long. If you have a garden which is producing too many tomatoes please share this fresh produce with your area pantry. If you suddenly find yourself cleaning out your kitchen, please bring those cans and boxes you’ll never use to the pantry.
September is a good time to donate peanut butter, jelly, and other school lunch snacks to your neighborhood pantry.
ONLY PEOPLE WHO QUALIFY FOR SNAP CAN GO TO A FOOD PANTRY.
I don’t know how this rumor got started either. Often a food pantry is a supplement to a household’s SNAP budget. But there are many, many people shopping at food pantries who never make it to the SNAP office. Some food pantries get visits from people wanting to sign them up for SNAP.
Actually, it would be wonderful if more people would get both SNAP benefits and food pantry food. This is true for the elderly especially. Often, people are afraid of going to the SNAP office. They’re afraid they won’t be able to find it. They are afraid they may not be able to answer the questions. In rural areas, the fear is that it will take too much gas.
THANKS FOR READING THIS POST!
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“I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” is coming soon! Hopefully, when this book is published, I’ll have more time to post articles on this blog.
Cover art for this book was contributed by Michele Garner.