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Want to Help Your Community? Food Banks Are in Dire Need

Your community food pantry needs help feeding an increasing number of needy families. Here’s how you and your neighbors can pitch in.

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Canned food on shelves at a food bank

If you'd like to help, contact your local food pantry to see what items it needs most. Image: Christy Ramsey/Flickr

Neighborhood food pantries and food banks are desperate for donations of food, funds, and folks; and the need is growing all the time. If you’re a home owner, you’re in a generous group: Home owners are more likely to donate to non-profits than renters, so if you’re in the mood to donate, food banks could use your help.

“Food assistance has gone from an emergency to a chronic need,” says Shannon Traeger of Feeding America, an umbrella group for more than 200 food banks throughout the U.S. “People are chronically depending on food pantries to feed themselves and their family.”

Here’s how you can help your community feed the hungry:

  • Call your local food pantry to see what it needs. Individual donations? Food drives? More volunteers? Then organize your block to meet those needs. Thanksgiving, which is coming quickly, is a good time to give to others.
  • If your local pantry accepts fresh vegetables, start a gleaning program among neighborhood gardeners, and bring extra produce to your local pantry.
  • De-clutter your own pantry, and donate items you’re not going to eat. Check expiration dates.
  • Volunteer your time, too. Most food pantries run mainly on volunteer help. Gather your neighbors and pitch in!

How do you help better your community and those less fortunate?

lisa-kaplan-gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon

is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL. Follow Lisa on Google+.

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