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LornaLove's avatar

What is a 'food bank'?

Asked by LornaLove (9192points) August 13th, 2014

I hear about food banks all the time in the USA. What is a food bank? Who supplies it and how much food does one get and why?

What is the food like? Do you get more if you have a bigger family, are their toiletries included?

Is this over and above some sort of payment you receive? (I am guessing you get food if you are unemployed?).

What types of items are in the food supply, do you get more food if you are say, disabled as opposed to unemployed?

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10 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

People donate food and money for when they eventually need to use it. Some meat is purchase and donated. The rest is collected from donations in grocery stores.

trailsillustrated's avatar

It’s usually in a church and when I did it you had to demonstrĂ te need. Then you can get a big box of tinned food, pasts and bread. You could only do it twice a month. They also served jail like meals served up by surly volunteers. It was easier to just steal food. They also gave hygiene kits the same kind you get in jail. ( a finger toothbrush , sanitary pads, tiny soap, tiny comb, deodorant . I think anyone low enough income can get the service.

anniereborn's avatar

I can only tell you about the one that I go to. Food is donated by all sorts of sources. A lot of it is surplus from local grocery stores. Only those under a certain amount of income are allowed to use it. I have no idea what that number is. The amount of food given relates to the household size.
Where I go there is only food, no other items. I am allowed to go every 30 days. I usually get what amounts to half a shopping cart full.
There are a lot of canned goods, pasta and boxed goods. usually some milk and fresh produce is given out. Also some sweets.
There is always tons of different kinds of breads available and one can come get as much as they want anytime the food bank is open.
You do not have to be unemployed to use the food bank, only under a certain income level. Everyone gets the same amount per person regardless of disability or other issues.

sinscriven's avatar

Food pantries are often private charities, often done by faith based organizations.
Their supplies come from private donations of cash or supplies from the community and/or donations from businesses. The variety of things you can get from them really depends on how well connected the organization is with potential suppliers. But typically you would get shelf stable pantry items, canned goods, powdered potatoes, cereals, basically anything that can sit for a while without spoiling to supplement what people get at the store on their own limited funds.

You do have to prove need, and what you are given is based on how many people you are responsible for. This is a completely different thing than government assistance, the government will provide funds for buying foods SNAP/WIC for families and such but this is a private effort to help feed people seperately from that, and also includes people who do not qualify for assistance from the government as well.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

It’s any place that provides food to families or individuals that are challenged in some way by a lack of food. Did this question rip the heart out of anyone else?

Aethelwine's avatar

A food bank is the storehouse 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.

A food bank is the warehouse for food pantries.

The food pantry I went to for my family when we needed help provided much of what @anniereborn listed, except we did not receive milk, bread or produce. We did receive a large bag of steak fries provided from a local restaurant. We also had the choice of a whole frozen chicken or 2 lbs of venison. Many hunters donate their extra supply of venison to food pantries.

zenvelo's avatar

Food banks are private charities, although they may receive some government funding. And many operate without questioning those who need help. They’ll accept donations wherever they can get it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The Baseball Hall of Fame takes donations of food around Christmas time in lieu of their admission fee. I always liked that idea.

Kardamom's avatar

There are different kinds of food banks such as This One.

And there are others, usually run through chuches such as These

Most food banks are non-governmental Non-Profits

Here is how food banks are Funded.

In our area, in California, U.S.A. they often hold food collection events at different times of the year. The grocery stores usually set up big barrels, asking for non-perishable items, starting right around Halloween (the beginning of “the holidays”). Then, several times during the year, the postal clerks collect food that has been requested that we leave at the multi-family mail box. I guess that in other areas, the postal clerks pick up food directly at the doorsteps of people who don’t have multi-family boxes.

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