Category Archives: Food Bank

A food bank, or foodbank, is a non-profit, charitable organization that distributes mostly donated food to a wide variety of agencies that in turn feed the hungry. The largest sources of food are for-profit growers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers who in the normal course of business have excess food that they cannot sell. After sorting and inventory, a food bank distributes the food to 100 to 1,000 non-profit community or government agencies, including but not limited to food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, orphanages, and schools.

With thousands of food banks on six continents there are many different models. However there are some elements that food banks share.

There is typically one food bank in a city which runs a centralized warehouse. Like a blood bank, that warehouse serves as a single collection and distribution point for food donations. A food bank operates a lot like a for-profit food distributor, but in this case it distributes food to charities not to food retailers.

The largest portion of donated food comes from food leftover from the normal processes of for-profit companies. This food can come from any part of the food chain, e.g. from growers who have produced too much or whose food is not visual appealing enough, from manufacturers who overproduced, or from retailers who over-ordered. Often the product is approaching or past its “expiration”, “sell by” or “best by” date. In such cases, the foodbank works with food industry and regulators to make sure the food is safe and legal to distribute and eat.

Other sources of food include the general public in the form of food drives and government programs that buy and distribute excess farm products mostly to help support higher commodity prices. Food banks can also buy food either at market prices or from wholesalers and retailers at discounted prices, often at cost.

The food is then distributed to food aid agencies which could be private or public, religious or secular. The type and nature of the recipient agency varies depending upon the policies of the food bank, the nature of their community, and the laws of where they operate.

Food banks operate on six continents in every region of the world.

Gulf of Mexico oil Spill Blog Food Bank

Food Bank – Second Harvest the Music My second trip to the Harvest the Music Food Bank concert series on Lafayette Square in the financial district Downtown New Orleans was just as much fun as last week when I heard Dr. … Continue reading

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