September is Hunger Action Month, a time when organizations and food banks around the country call upon families and communities to join the fight against hunger in America. In 2017 alone, there were 40,044,000 food insecure people in the United States. That means over 40 million people who, at some point during the year, weren’t sure they would have enough to eat from day to day.
This hunger crisis can seem too big an issue for most of us, but we can all make a difference when we work together. So what can you do to make an impact?
Here are 6 ways to make a real difference in your neighborhood and your community this September and throughout the year in the fight against hunger.
Understand the Real Issue
In order to make an impact on hunger in America, we first need to understand the real reason so many people don’t have the food they need.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year—approximately 1.3 billion tons—gets lost or wasted.”
The USDA estimates food waste in the United States at 30-40 percent of food supply, with 31% of the food loss occurring at retail and consumer levels. This amounts to 133 billion pounds per year.
Most disturbing of all is the fact that much of the food loss is due to standards that over-emphasize a food’s appearance. That’s why fruits, vegetables, tubers, and roots have the highest waste rates of any other food. These are nutritious options that hungry families miss out on simply because they are not large enough, colorful enough, or perfectly shaped to appeal to consumers.
In short, one of the biggest reasons so many people are food insecure, isn’t a lack of available food. It’s the processes and policies that lead to food waste that keep food out of reach for so many American families.
These statistics help to explain why 1 of 4 American children struggle to get enough to eat and 1 in 6 Americans are food-insecure.
Support Organizations that Reclaim Food
One way to make an impact during Hunger Action Month is to support organizations that reclaim food, making it available to the hungry.
At Blessings of Hope, we reclaim food from over 80 sources including restaurants, supermarkets, and other organizations, redirecting nutritious food, which would otherwise be wasted, to provide healthy meals to those in need. So far this year, we’ve distributed over 6,624,733 meals, or about 25,000 meals per day.
Spread the Word on Social Media
While social media can be a distraction, it also has tremendous power to rally people behind a cause. Imagine if everyone reading this article were to post a picture or publish a short message to bring awareness to the issue of hunger in America?
One popular way to post to social media is to list all the things you wouldn’t be able to do on an empty stomach. If you want to be creative, add post-it notes of your list to an empty dinner plate and snap a picture. Examples might include:
On an empty stomach I can’t:
- Concentrate at my job
- Study for my big math test
- Sleep through the night
- Get enough exercise
You can also share your favorite posts from organizations you follow that are making an impact against hunger in your neighborhood, community, or region.
Donate to Your Local Food Bank
One of the best ways to make an impact against hunger is to support your local food bank. But think twice before organizing a food drive. While food drives can seem like a great idea, monetary donations often make a bigger impact, since each organization can use the money to buy what they truly need for the people in their community.
Support the Capital Campaign at Blessings of Hope
Blessings of Hope is expanding in order to help more people throughout our region and across the country. But in order to handle the increased volumes of food for our expansion, we need a much bigger facility than the one we have now. That’s why we’re running a Capital Campaign to raise money for the purchase and remodel of a 43,000 sq. ft. facility in Leola, PA.
Our goal is to raise $4.1 million for the project. We’ve raised 15% of the total so far, but need your help to reach our goal.
You can find out more about the project and offer your generous donation on our Growing2Feed page on our website.
Become a Volunteer
If you find yourself short on cash, but still want to make an impact during Hunger Action Month, arrange to volunteer at your local food bank, soup kitchen, or favorite charity.
At Blessings of Hope, we depend on 1800+ volunteers to coordinate our food offerings and run our organization in a variety of ways including:
- Repacking/re-bagging food
- Packing food boxes
- Handling truck and equipment maintenance
- Driving trucks
- Community outreach events
- Stocking shelves
- Helping with annual fundraising
- And more…
Explore volunteer opportunities at Blessings of Hope to learn more.
While the hunger crisis in America is too big for any one individual to take on alone, each of us can make a difference when we all work together. By understanding the role waste plays in food shortages, supporting organizations that reclaim food waste, spreading messages of awareness on social media, donating to local food banks, or volunteering at organizations already engaged in the fight against hunger, we can all do our part to feed the hungry—one day, one meal at a time. Blessings of Hope is a non-profit food distribution warehouse that reclaims food from large food distributors and efficiently delivers 25,000 meals a day through partnerships with ministries, organizations, and individuals. We’re here to reach the less fortunate through food and acts of loving kindness.