When I tell people that I work at the food pantry, they generally have questions. Many people donate food, money, and their time to food banks, but they are not clear on how the food bank industry works. Below are the answers to questions I am asked.
My school and church donate food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. I thought that the food donated was given to agencies for free. Do member agencies of the Atlanta Community Food Bank have to pay for the food?
Agencies that receive food from the Atlanta Community Food Bank pay a shared maintenance fee. A shared maintenance fee is a handling fee paid by partner agencies to Feeding America member food banks. Services provided for the fee include warehousing and distribution of donated food and grocery products. The partner agencies are – 501(c)(3) nonprofit charities. Their shared maintenance fee is not a charge for food. The fee is assessed by pounds of food received. http://www.acfb.org/sites/default/files/Agency-Toolkit-maintenance-fees.pdf
Is my donation to Land of Promise tax-deductible?
As a registered 501c(3) organization established in 2006, all monetary donations to Land of Promise are tax-deductible.
Should I give money or should I donate food?
Land of Promise deeply values both monetary and food donations!
A food drive is a great way to engage community support and promote awareness of hunger in our communities. Many participants feel a deep sense of reward by contributing food that they have purchased at the store or pulled from their own pantries. To organize a food drive send us an email at vmount@LOPprograms.org.
Other donors prefer the ease and efficiency of making a tax-deductible monetary donation. Land of Promise can make a tremendous impact with monetary donations: for every $1 donated, we can provide $9 in food for someone in need.
You can donate to team Land of Promise during the Hunger Walk/Run Fundraiser: http://engage.acfb.org/site/TR?px=1229521&pg=personal&fr_id=1792&et=O0OrVF2MSGb4YSX8LmUASQ
This year the Hunger Walk/Run is on March 5, 2017 and all donations must be received by March 3, 2017. Eighty percent (80%) of each $1.00 donated to team Land of Promise for the Hunger Walk/Run will be added to our agency account at the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The remaining twenty percent (20%) will cover the cost to the Atlanta Community Food Bank for organizing the event.
I went to the Atlanta Community Food Bank to get food, but they could not give me food. They told me that I had a visit a local food pantry. Why do I have to do this?
In America food banks operate on the ‘warehouse’ model. Food banks are distribution facilities that warehouse, repackage and distribute food to partner agencies. They do not give food directly to the public. Partner agencies deal directly with the public, i.e. food pantries, non-profit agencies, community kitchens, homeless shelters, orphanages, schools, etc. Land of Promise and more than 60,000 partner agencies are responsible for providing food and meals to the public on a regular basis.
How do the food banks get the food and distribute to the food pantries?
Feeding America is a network of two hundred (200) food banks and sixty thousand (60,000) food pantries and meal programs. Feeding America secures donations from national food and grocery manufacturers, retailers, shippers, packers and growers from government agencies and other agencies. This food is forwarded to member food banks, then to partner agencies that serve families, children, seniors, who are at risk of not getting food. Last year alone, the Feeding America network distributed more than 4 billion meals to people in need. http://www.feedingamerica.org/about-us/how-we-work/food-bank-network/
What is a partner agency and who regulates them?
A Partner Agency is a qualified not-for-profit organization that partners with the Food Bank to distribute food to those in need. Agencies fall into several different categories:
A food pantry is an agency that provides groceries to individuals and families. Meals are prepared at home by the recipients.
An emergency shelter is an agency that provides food and lodging to homeless individuals and families.
A community kitchen is an organization that provides hot meals to individuals and families.
The Food Bank's Agency Services Department regularly monitors all agencies for proper food storage, handling and distribution. Along with partnership, agencies are advised, receive training and technical assistance.
The concept of food banking was developed by John van Hengel in Phoenix, AZ in the late 1960s. Since that time thousands have been set up all over the world. The process of getting food to hungry Americans requires a vigorous infrastructure and experienced management. The Food Bank industry relies heavily on surplus food, local food drives and individual donations. Together, we can make a difference to help those in need of food.