In these days of rising unemployment and an ever worsening recession, the demand on the nation’s food banks continues to increase. The number of families getting assistance from food banks increased by 30% in 2008 and that number continues to grow in 2009. Many of those getting assistance are the working poor, struggling to make ends meet. In fact, 36% of the households helped by food banks last year have at least one income. Far too often American families live paycheck to paycheck. An unexpected loss of a job can instantly mean no money to buy food. In such situations food banks can be life savers.
The vast majority of those who work at food banks are volunteers, and the food banks themselves depend upon gifts from churches, businesses and individuals. These food banks and the people that work in them are testimonials to the love and generosity of America.
Unfortunately, much of the food available in the food banks is unhealthy. Often it is damaged, cast-off, or unsaleable stuff from supermarkets. So I encourage fellow small sustainable farmers to join us in contributing fresh produce to local food banks. The folks who come there (especially the elderly it seems) are overjoyed to find fresh garden produce or eggs as an option.
The food bank in our community is staffed almost entirely by volunteers and supported by gifts. Nearly 350 volunteers serve over 16,000 families each year. There is certainly no shortage of need these days, but if any of y’all are looking for a good way to serve the needy in your communities, consider donating time, money and food to your local food bank.