How Food Banks Are Delivering So Much More Than Food During the Covid-19 Crisis
WE have all been waiting to put 2020 behind us since March. The wait is finally over as the countdown for a new year begins. But we can’t ignore the reality that the pandemic will continue in 2021 too and until the vaccine is accessible to everyone in the world, we still have to keep our guard up. With this in mind, let’s remember that some people may need a little more support during these trying times. There are steps that we can take to help ease the lives of those who have been worst hit by this crisis.
Despite the domino effect of challenges from lockdowns, childcare, schooling, and being away from family, this year has brought out the best in many by helping us realize the value of things we used to take for granted, like a roof above our head, a stable job, a steaming-hot meal, or even the ability to breathe. People across the world are coming together to help each other out however they can.
As the homeless population in the US has grown by 45% over the year and unemployment has increased, food banks across the country are working tirelessly to break the curve of hunger to help families make it through a tough winter. Let’s take a closer look at how they are making a difference.
What is a food bank?
A food bank is a non-profit organization that distributes food to the needy by collecting and channeling it to hunger-relief charities. They do not donate food themselves but act as food warehouses for individual frontline agencies.
What is a Food Pantry?
While food banks don’t directly interact with the people they serve, food pantries function as the face of food banks that reach out to the people and distribute the food. Food pantries can be stable or mobile.
How do Food Banks Operate?
The food banks in the US could vary from small entities that serve communities in rural areas to large networks that store and distribute millions of pounds of food across cities or states. But big or small, they predominantly rely on donors and volunteers to streamline their daily operations.
Here’s how this process works:
Collection: The staff and volunteers collect the food from registered donors including restaurants, retail shops, local grocers and food manufacturers, packers, growers, shippers, and other national agencies.
Storage: The food thus secured is stored at the respective food banks and the excess is transferred to other warehouses. The staff and volunteers are trained to sort and handle perishable and non-perishable food accordingly.
Distribution: The food is then channeled through meal programs and food pantries to reach the needy, including families, senior citizens, children, and other individuals at risk.
How Have Food Banks Made an Impact During Covid-19?
Take a look at some Interesting Food Bank Statistics According to Feeding America, the US-based NGO that operates 200 food banks across the nation to cater to more than 46 million people.
4.2 Billion Meals Delivered: The foodbanks across the US have managed to distribute 4.2 billion meals (enough to serve breakfast to every US resident) between March-October 2020.
4 Out of 5 Food Banks are Working Overtime: Around 80% of foodbanks are distributing food to more people than they did a year ago. Especially during the holiday season, the food banks are striving every day to ensure that the families affected by layoffs, business closures, and pay cuts don’t go hungry.
1 in 6 Americans are Being Served: As the aftermath of the pandemic, more people are approaching food banks for the first time ever in their lives, as a result of which, food banks are stepping up to bridge the gap.
How Are We Involved?
We at Peterson Technology Partners are honored to be able to support these three Chicago-based non-profit organizations to help curb hunger and homelessness:
The Olive Branch Mission: A homeless shelter that provides emergency shelter (including meals, showers, and clothing), interim housing, job referrals, and personal development coaching to those in need.
La Casa Norte: A comprehensive community center that helps youth and families confront and overcome homelessness with their ‘housing first’ policy. This model operates on the principle that a majority of socio-economic and mental problems can be resolved effectively if a person or a family has a stable home.
Cathedral’s Kitchen: A service-based ministry that distributes food to the locals in need and creates and safe and friendly environment for their holistic development.
How Can You Get Involved?
The holiday season may be coming to an end, but the spirit of giving lasts year long. Let giving and sharing me a part of your lifestyle. Here’s how you too can touch somebody’s life through food banks:
Volunteer: Locate the nearest food bank through the Feeding America website and offer to volunteer—either online or in person. You can choose to donate money or food, help with securing donations, or become a part of the support team.
Practice Gratitude: Appreciate the food bank workers on the frontline who work tirelessly to ensure that nobody goes hungry. They are heroes!
Spread Awareness: Educate the prospective volunteers so they can join the effort and spread awareness to the needy who may benefit from the service.
The truth is that the pandemic was challenging in different ways for everyone. But if we don’t have to be concerned about our next meal or where to sleep tonight, we are luckier than many. Families are struggling and though it may not be visible to everyone, it’s the time for us to come together and help. Extend a hand, give them hope, help them through this difficult phase. What may seem like just a carton of canned goods or bags of flour to us could make the difference between hunger and survival.
Each of us has the ability to make an impact. Spread some warmth and light into the lives of those who need it the most. Remember, the stronger we are together, the easier it will be to overcome this adversity. Let’s not let anyone fall behind.
Have a safe and happy New Year!
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About the Company:
Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has been Chicago's premier Information Technology (IT) staffing, consulting, and recruiting firm for over 22+ years. Named after Chicago's historic Peterson Avenue, PTP has built its reputation by developing lasting relationships, leading digital transformation, and inspiring technical innovation throughout Chicagoland.
Based in Park Ridge, IL, PTP's 250+ employees have a narrow focus on a single market (Chicago) and expertise in 4 innovative technical areas;
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