What’s Needed at Food Banks

charitable organizations

The holiday season through the end of the year is when many charitable organizations are seeking donations. It’s also when many people want to support organizations whose missions they especially believe in.

One of my favorite organizations is Globe Santa and I’ve supported them for decades. They deliver holiday gifts to children in need. All children should feel the joy and delight of receiving at least one gift of their own.

Many of us also support food banks. I read an interesting post on LinkedIn written by Marco T. Lindsey about what people really need at food banks. His list started a conversation in the comments that also gave some good ideas. I didn’t read all of the comments, but I’ve noted some takeaways below.

MONEY: Money is the best thing to give. Food banks can best decide what they need. They need the means to buy it and may have discounted rates for purchases.

ASK: If you’d rather not give a monetary donation, look at the organization’s website and see if they have a list of particular items that they need. You could also contact them directly to find out what they need right now. The website list could possibly be out of date.

WASTE: A lot of donated food goes to waste and cannot be used. If it’s expired, it will be thrown away. One thing that I was surprised to learn when I volunteered at a food bank was that dented cans were thrown away. If a can was dented, then the integrity of the can was in question and the food might not be safe. I’m not sure if that is still the case or if all food banks abide by this rule, but it’s something to keep in mind.

One comment, shown below, that I found particularly insightful was by Sheila Freeman.

“As someone who has worked and volunteered for nonprofit organizations for over twenty years, there is one thing from your list you left off. Food banks only allow people/families to get food that will last for a week once a month, no exception. If you have kids they will eat this food in one day. The other thing heard staff who run these ministries say “if these people are hungry, they should take what we give them.” People who donates food have no ideal these are the policies in place when serving those in the communities. Another issue is these speciality bread shops give bread, a good variety in the donation, and anyone that buys it knows it is expensive but the food pantries throws away because it’s not bagged to last long, so much of it goes into the trash.”

I’m not sure that what she says applies to all food banks, but apparently at least some of them. And that makes sense that the bagged bread might end up going to waste.

It’s such a shame. Food waste is a huge problem in this country. It’s a double shame that so many people are in need of food at the same time that it is being thrown away.

#GivingTuesday: Brockton Area Arc

Brockton Area Arc logo

What is #GivingTuesday? It’s “a global day dedicated to giving back.” If you’re looking for a worthy organization to support this Giving Tuesday, the Brockton Area Arc (BAArc) is one of the best! Just go to the website and click on the donate button.

Brockton Area ArcI’ve written about this organization many times before and give my time as a member of the Board of Directors.

The Brockton Area Arc is one of more than 700 national and local chapters of The Arc, which is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism and acquired brain injury. This organization is on the front lines to ensure that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families have the support they need to be members of the community.

The local chapter has been a great help for my brother and my family. Below is an excerpt from a post that I wrote a couple of years ago.

One of the things that I want to especially point out is the work of BAArc’s Family Support Center. It provides information, education, and referral services to help parents manage the challenges of raising a child with disabilities.

Support groups and parent meetings let families connect with other families, share resources and build support networks. There is a Sunday Recreation Program, Extended Day Programs, and Sibshops, for brothers and sisters of individuals with special needs. Being a sibling is how I became involved with BAArc.

Also, the Brockton Area Arc has made a special effort to make sure that all families benefit from their services by hiring coordinators to reach out specifically to the Haitian and Cape Verdean communities in the Brockton area. The coordinators speak Haitian Creole and Cape Verdean Creole, so that people can feel comfortable speaking their native languages.

Happy Giving Tuesday! I hope that you will consider making a donation to the Brockton Area Arc!

+ + +
Photo Credit: Brockton Area Arc

Thoughts on Blogging & Philanthropy

Blog advertising logo

This new blog home is so exciting for me! Hopefully for you too! As I start anew, I’m drawing from what I learned over at my First Amendment.

One of the many things that I’ll continue here is donating a portion of money earned from blog advertising and sponsored posts. It may only be a small amount of money, but it’s more than I would have been able to give otherwise and helps in my philanthropy goals.

Those of you who have read and commented, emailed me, linked to content, shared on social media and met me in person, you keep me going! Over my eight years of blogging, I have been amazed by it all the time and continue to be surprised.

Below is a list of the worthy organizations that you helped me donate to in 2013 and so far in 2014. Thank you!

+ + +

CAMBA

Community Servings

FACE Africa

Greyston Bakery

Spare Change News

WBUR

WGBH

Snap Judgment