Food Bank News
How Grant-Making is Strengthening Pantry Networks
Food banks have long said that they’re only as good as their pantry networks, and lately, they’ve been backing up that sentiment with intention. Fueled partly by Covid-era support, food banks have been growing the capacity of their pantries through a wide range of grant-making activities. Now, many are at a stage of formalizing those grant programs as they seek to make capacity-building a standard part of their operations.
S.C. Food Bank Nudges Pantries Toward Offering Choice
Giving food pantry clients the ability to choose their own food can feel like a big undertaking, but Lowcountry Food Bank of Charleston, S.C., has developed a flexible, hands-on approach that’s helping pantries in its network make that move one baby step at a time. About 30% of the...
How This Farmer is Advancing Food is Medicine
Followers of the Food is Medicine movement will know that a growing number of private food box companies are working with insurers to provide their clients with healthy food as a covered benefit (Food Bank News wrote about that here). Steve Brazeel, Founder and CEO of SunTerra Produce, is showing that there is a role for farmers to play in the Food is Medicine movement as well.
Community Input Steered This Ohio Food Bank’s Warehouse Renovation
Without input from the community, the renovation of Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank’s main warehouse, unveiled last week, probably would have turned out a little differently. In improving the warehouse, the food bank employed the same strategy it had when it constructed a brand new warehouse in another location in...
Food is Medicine Gets a Boost from HHS Dept.
Feeding America shared center stage with Instacart and Rockefeller Foundation today as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced partnerships with all three entities to advance the use of nutritious food to improve public health at its first-ever Food is Medicine Summit. The three organizations are not working...
Helping Pantries Expand into Social Services – and Get Paid For It
It was a Friday afternoon in late summer when Bryan Wang, the CEO of bosWell Inc., knocked on the door of Better Lives Rhode Island, a Providence-based community organization that supports a food pantry, community meals, and homeless outreach. Wang was cold-calling, trying to find an organization with plenty of...
Food Banks Missing the Mark on Younger Donors
Food banks are missing easy opportunities to connect with younger donors, according to a report from the donor management software provider Bloomerang. Bloomerang recently donated $25 to 50 different food banks in the Feeding America network in an effort to better understand the donor experience – from the moment of donation through the next 30 days.
Food is the Draw; Medical Training is the Goal
Empowering the Masses of Dallas, Tex., serves 1,500 people a month through its hunger relief programs … but the food it serves is not really the point. The nonprofit’s mission statement emphasizes building stronger communities through vocational training and core skills development. Food plays a role as the “carrot.” It draws people in so staff members and volunteers can build relationships, assess needs, and potentially refer food clients to the organization’s bread-and-butter offerings – their workforce training programs.
The Healthcare Industry Wants YOU, Food Banks!
Food banks and pantries know they are really good at getting healthy food to vulnerable people. Increasingly, the healthcare industry is understanding that as well. Both healthcare payers and providers are seeking ways to more fully partner with experts in hunger relief. They realize food banks and pantries not only have deep connections to individuals in need, but also the logistical ability to get food into communities where it’s needed.
Paper Throws Cold Water on Food Is Medicine
A recently published paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association gives the cold shoulder to the concept of Food is Medicine. The authors, affiliated with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania, describe all the attention being paid to Food is Medicine – including by the White House at its conference on hunger, health and nutrition last year – as “unjustified” by Food is Medicine’s likely benefit.
Study Quantifies the Benefits of Client Choice
While giving clients the opportunity to choose their own food is widely considered a food-pantry best practice, taking the step to add more choice can feel overwhelming, especially when current operations seem to be working just fine. McDonald Mission Center, an agency of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee,...
Addressing the Impact of Food Insecurity on Healthy Pregnancies
GUEST OPINION BY KRISTEN WILD, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF OPERATION FOOD SEARCH — The March of Dimes recently gave Missouri a report card of D- for maternal and infant health. You don’t have to be a former schoolteacher like me to find that alarming. Unfortunately, it’s nothing new. In fact, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has determined that maternal mortality increased 40% between 2020 and 2021. And the mortality rate for Black women is four times higher than for White women. What’s even more distressing is that the majority of these deaths are preventable; the top cause of death was mental health.
Food Bank CEO of the Year: Matt Habash of Mid-Ohio Food Collective
Food banks typically consider the pantries in their network to be their “customers,” which keeps them one step removed from the people who actually go to the pantries. Matt Habash, CEO of Mid-Ohio Food Collective, in contrast, has spent more than a decade trying to get his organization closer to the food-insecure people using the pantries. It’s a strategy that has helped him earn our Food Bank CEO of the Year for 2023.
Pantry Stands Out with Electric Van
Like many food pantries, Daily Bread Food Pantry in Danbury, Conn. was recently given the opportunity to apply for a grant to increase its ability to distribute food. With Connecticut Foodshare making sizable grants available, Peter Kent, Executive Director of Daily Bread, figured that plenty of pantries across the state would be applying for funding to acquire vehicles and/or cold storage – two of the most obvious ways to expand capacity. So he sought a way for his application to stand out.
CEO Roundtable: Food Banking in Five Years
In contemplating what food banking might look like in five or so years, the CEOs of our Food Bank CEO Roundtable imagined the ways in which food banks might act more like high-tech, consumer-oriented companies – and the ways in which they might not. Food banks and pantries started...
How Hunger Relief is Fitting into Food as Medicine
There are plenty of opportunities to go around in Food as Medicine, and celebrity chef Michel Nischan aptly summed them up last week at the Food as Medicine Policy Summit held in Washington D.C. Patients get food to improve their lives; doctors get tools to slow devastating disease; insurance plans...
Raising the Bar on Wraparound Services
Offering wraparound social services alongside free food has long been viewed as a desirable practice among food banks and pantries. Now, Greater Cleveland Food Bank has raised the bar on how it can be done. Its Community Resource Center, opened earlier this month, provides permanent space to 15 other nonprofit...
Letters to the Editor
In response to a request for comment by Food Bank News to its Editorial Advisory Board last month, Brian Greene, President and CEO of Houston Food Bank, supplied these thoughts on the topic of purchased versus donated food. His thoughts offer further perspective on this article, “How Some Food Banks Source Way More Donated Food,” published Nov. 7, 2023.
Data Exchange Crucial to ‘Food is Medicine’ Success
Of the ten recommendations that the Bipartisan Policy Center recently issued for advancing Food is Medicine, only one addresses the role of community based organizations (CBOs) that provide food and nutrition (i.e., food banks and pantries). The Food is Medicine movement is gaining prominence as a way to address spiraling...
More Food Pantries Adopt Community-Hub Model
Food banks are not the only types of hunger relief agencies to pair free food alongside other social services (see article here). Some food pantries are also adding non-food social services like employment help, medical support and financial literacy to their food offerings. They are housing the combined services in newly constructed modern spaces, making it easy for people lacking resources to find all the help they need in one welcoming place.
Food Bank News
Food Bank News is the first and only publication to acknowledge the critical role that food banks and related agencies play in the wellness and livelihood of millions of people living in the United States.