If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem
So.......How can you help?
Start at Home
Make a list before shopping. Don't over buy. If you have a garden, improve your soil by saving your peelings, eggshells, coffee grounds and table scraps and make your own compost pile. Composting is not complicated. You make the pile. Nature does the rest. No garden? Find out if there is a public composting program in your area. Buy fresh fruits and vegetables locally. In season, patronize farmer's markets. The vendors more often than not donate of their end-of-day left overs to organizations and food banks which collect and then distribute these items to those who truly are in need.
Look for volunteer opportunities in your area. In an earlier post, I mentioned that I volunteer regularly at Loaves and Fishes, loaves.org in downtown Ithaca, NY. The ages of the volunteer staff members range from six to eighty-six and together we prepare lunch three times a week and dinner twice a week.... up to 150 people partake of each meal. Many of our guests are also volunteering. There is always something that needs doing. There is an amazing sense of community at Loaves and Fishes. Our guests partake of nourishing meals prepared and served with love. There is probably at least one organization of this kind in your area. Seek it out and sign up to help! Can you cook?.... Peel and chop and onion?.... Wash Dishes? Volunteering enriches both your life and the lives of those you serve.
Food banks are all around you...... Some operate from church basements, others from large warehouses. They all need donations of food, money for operating expenses and people to help with distribution. The need for this food has long exceeded the supply. Can you drive a truck? A forklift? Do you possess clerical skills?
"By Judy Keen, USA TODAY
Donations to many of the USA's food banks are not keeping pace with growing demand as the sour economy forces more people to seek help, charitable organizations say.
"We have seen a 100% increase in demand in the last year … and food donations have dropped precipitously," says Dana Wilkie, CEO of the Community Food Bank in Fresno, Calif............
Nationally, donations are up about 18%, but demand has grown 25%-40%, says Vicki Escarra of Feeding America, the USA's largest hunger-relief charity. Feeding America, formerly America's Second Harvest, has a network of 206 food banks.About 70% of new clients are making their first visit to a food bank, Escarra says.
•Denver: The Salvation Army food bank turned away 198 people last month, says Maj. Neal Hogan. Red kettle donations there are about the same as last year's so far, he says — not enough to offset growing needs.
•Knoxville, Tenn.: "What we're seeing now is very scary," says Elaine Streno of the Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, which supplies food to 300 agencies in 18 counties.
"Our community is very generous, but when you don't have it, you can't give it," she says
•Manchester, N.H.: The New Hampshire Food Bank has distributed 4.6 million pounds of food to 370 agencies statewide so far this year, up from 3.7 million pounds over the same period in 2007, says development director Anne Dalton.
•Toledo, Ohio: Demand is up 12%-15% and donations are not increasing, says Jim Caldwell, president of the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank, which serves 250 agencies in eight counties. Next year "promises to be even more arduous," he says.
•Peoria, Ill.: Demand is up 50% at many of the 125 agencies in eight counties served by the Peoria Area Food Bank, says director Barb Shreves.
•Visalia, Calif.: FoodLink for Tulare County asks the community to help provide holiday meals to 5,000 of the area's neediest families. This year, 9,200 families already have applied, says executive director Sandy Beals. Food supplies are down 45% from a year ago; demand is up 30%, and people are being turned away.
Photo by Elaine Thompson AP "
Here is a link (from the same site where I found the USA Today article) to an extensive list of food banks all across the country, listed state by state along with interesting statistical information about each one: http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx
Thanks again for reading Free the Food
Love Food Not Waste