We’ve heard it from many sources: The tepid economy is creating problems for food banks nationwide.West Ohio Food Bank CEO Gary Bright says donations are down 40 percent overall. Corporate donations are down 80 percent.
It’s true in Bellingham, Washington, too. In a report from the January 26, 2013, Bellingham Herald, Linda Nageotte, president and CEO of the Seattle-based nonprofit Food Lifeline, wrote, “Finally, people should be aware of the food bought and wasted in their own households. Americans throw away 34 million tons of food – an average of 20 pounds a month for every single person in the country and 40 percent of all the food produced in the United States. If people donated the money they spent on surplus food to food banks instead, it would be enough to feed every hungry person in the nation – two times over.”
The San Francisco Chronicle agrees that federal funding cuts have hurt the S.F. Food Bank. Having been denied federal funding for its food giveaway program for two years in a row, leaving the food bank depending on nonprofits, charities, and donations from others. “The need is there, and it keeps growing,” Tina Gonzales, coordinator of the Luteran Social Services Pantry said. “If we weren’t able to give out our food, there are people who would not be eating that day.”
What are food banks looking for? Here are some suggestions from OurFoodNews.