Organizations We Love: Feeding America
10.2 percent of U.S. households, roughly around 13.5 million people, were food insecure at some time during 2021. It can be extremely stressful, overwhelming, and scary not to know where your next meal will come from. Even so, this is the reality for millions of people in America each and every day.
That’s why Jackson’s Chips partners with organizations like Feeding America to ensure that no one has to face needless hunger when there are more than enough resources available for everyone to eat. Let’s go over Feeding America’s mission, how they help end hunger, and their many amazing programs to help those who face food insecurity.
What Is Feeding America?
Feeding America is the largest hunger-relief organization and charity in the United States. They work hard to provide food and resources to those who need them via a network of over 200 food banks, food pantries, and meal programs.
Feeding America has an enormous charitable footprint that continues to grow. Not only does the organization reach and help 1 in 7 people in the United States each year, but Feeding America also served 6.6 billion meals in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. That amount is a whopping 2 billion more meals than they served in 2019.
The process of distributing these meals takes a lot of coordination between Feeding America and various food growers, manufacturers, and government agencies. Once food donations reach their destinations, the local food banks partnered with Feeding America take careful actions to make sure that donations are safely stored and readily delivered right to those who need them.
How Does Feeding America Help End Hunger?
Combating hunger in America requires a multi-pronged approach to awareness and advocacy. Alongside efforts to nourish the country’s 34 million hungry people, Feeding America also fights back against other issues like food waste by salvaging what would otherwise be thrown away. Let’s review a few ways Feeding America takes steps to end hunger and provide lasting solutions to food waste.
Food Rescue: MealConnect
To provide food to the hungry, Feeding America engages in a process called food rescue or food recovery. To do this, volunteers collect food that would go to waste before providing these nutrients for free through food banks. This food might be recovered from various places like farmers, manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants.
Feeding America facilitates food rescue through a program called MealConnect. Through MealConnect, retailers can donate their surplus food. Food banks can then set up a time to pick up and recover that food so they can distribute it to those who need it.
Those who are affected by disasters need direct, immediate food assistance, and Feeding America is there to help. Feeding America stores supplies and resources all throughout the nation. Thus, in the event of a disaster, they are readily available no matter where you are. However, Feeding America’s assistance doesn’t end with disasters. They understand that a major disaster can affect a community for years to come and continue providing support.
Hunger Action Month
Feeding America’s Hunger Action Month takes place in September. If you’ve never volunteered for Feeding America before, joining in Hunger Action Month is a great way to get involved for the first time. Donate to the organization’s nationwide fundraiser or gather up your friends and family to spend a day volunteering at your local food bank. You can even help out simply by donning your favorite orange shirt (the representative color for child hunger awareness) and spreading the word about the cause by posting a photo on social media.
Food Pantry Programs
Feeding America is a network of over 200 food pantries and food banks. There are a wide variety of programs to help get food to those who need it. Different programs target seniors, children, families, and other specific demographics who tend to struggle with food insecurity.
Feeding America also offers additional services such as SNAP application assistance and senior food programs. These provide hot meals, meal assistance, and transportation to seniors.
History of Feeding America
The organization that would eventually become Feeding America formed about 10 years after the creation of the very first food bank in the late 1960s by John van Hengel. Based in Phoenix, AZ, van Hengel wanted to make a safe location to store food for those who needed it. Dubbed “St. Mary’s Food Bank,” van Hengel’s creation was the first of its kind in the United States.
After that, the concept of food banking quickly caught on with more and more locations popping up all over the nation. In response, van Hengel started a national network of food banks called America’s Second Harvest in 1978. America’s Second Harvest was later renamed Feeding America in 2008. As of 2022, after about 45 years in operation, Feeding America remains the largest hunger-relief organization in the nation.
Is Feeding America a Good Charity?
If you want to help in the fight against hunger, there are many different charities that can use your time and donations, but Feeding America is one of the most impactful options. The organization consistently receives excellent evaluations from trusted agencies like Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau:
- Charity Navigator: The Feeding America rating has been four-star for the past 10 consecutive evaluations, placing it in the top 3% of charities rated by the agency.
- Better Business Bureau: The Feeding America review indicates that the organization meets all 20 Standards for Charity Accountability.
Current Feeding America CEO Claire Babineaux-Fontenot has her own personal connection to the cause of hunger awareness. During her first year of law school in 1987, she found herself struggling to make ends meet as she used her paychecks from working at a local department store to pay for rent and textbooks. With no money left to afford food, she experienced true hunger for the first time in her life and looked to the Salvation Army for help. The event impacted her deeply and, in 2018, she became the CEO of Feeding America to help children and families who also struggle with hunger.
How To Support Feeding America
Feeding America relies on charitable donations to combat hunger, prevent food waste, and create a better America for all. The best way to support Feeding America is to donate directly. Every dollar donated provides at least 10 meals to families nationwide. Click here for more information about how to donate or become a Feeding America volunteer.