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Understanding the Difference Between a Food Bank and a Food Pantry

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a food bank and a food pantry? Both organizations work together to bring food assistance to the families in your communities, but how they accomplish that mission is where they differ.

Food Bank

Think of your local food bank as a food hub. This hub collects and stores food that it later distributes to local agency partners like food pantries and soup kitchens. Those local partners distribute the food directly to the community instead of food banks because it is more efficient to let agency partners handle that task.

Food banks have buying power within the food industry and can purchase food at wholesale or bulk prices. They also receive food donations from local and national food drives. The buying power and food donations allow them to offer affordable food to their agency partners.

Food Pantry

Food pantries are a little different than food banks. At a food pantry, food from the food banks are packaged together for families in need. Food pantries rely on getting food resources at little or no cost from the food bank for direct distribution to the community.

Every community is different, and food pantries try to accommodate those unique needs. Food pantries can operate as individual sites, a delivery service, or a mobile pantry. Some communities have members that cannot physically get to the pantry location, but personal deliveries or mobile pantries are able to help eliminate this problem.

How You Can Help Your Local Food Bank

There are many options for helping out your local food bank. You can volunteer your time, donate money and other resources, organize a food drive, or become an advocate for community food programs.  

Reach out to your local food bank to volunteer your time and find out when they need the most help. They may ask you to help on days when food pantries come to shop, or even to deliver food to local pantries that need assistance.

Local food banks often have outreach programs that need volunteers to ensure success. Truckloads of Hope is a Blessings of Hope program designed to bring families, companies, and churches together to provide food for those in need. This program meets the needs of families in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York.

How You Can Help Your Local Food Pantry

You can help your local food pantry in many of the same ways that you can help your local food bank. Your local food pantry will gladly accept any volunteer time or resources you can donate.

You can volunteer to pack food boxes, deliver food to those who cannot pick it up, and take part in mobile pantries that get out into the community. The food pantry can let you know what they need help with and when they need the most help.

Looking to Volunteer in Your Community?

Reach out to Blessings of Hope and find out how you can volunteer your time and be a part of our mission. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to enrich the lives of those in your community by providing aid to those who need it the most.