In my estimation, almost all efforts made to fight hunger are cool! That said, many people think you can just throw some canned food at hunger and call it a day, when in fact, there are so many more ways to address food insecurity. It’s a complex issue that needs to be approached from multiple angles.
It’s important to consider both local and global food insecurity, but they also differ in various ways (including how to help); so I’m going to start where you are. What can you do to help people near you get enough food on a regular basis? I’m glad you asked!
There are many misconceptions about food insecurity and hunger. Often, those wanting to help actually end up getting in the way of progress. Understand the causes of food insecurity and barriers to healthful food to find appropriate solutions.
Once you have the knowledge, don’t be afraid to share it! Be a voice for those who may not feel comfortable sharing their story. This can be as simple as blogging about the issue or writing to your representatives about policies affecting food access.
I’d be remiss to leave out the impact donations have on food banks and feeding programs. They wouldn’t be able to function effectively without them!
There are almost endless ways to give and receive at the same time.
- Coordinate a food drive with your school or church.
- Run in a charitable race that gives a portion to feeding programs.
- Participate in Restaurant Week, when the proceeds of eating out at certain restaurants benefit your local food bank.
- Attend foodie events that are hosted by your local food bank or other feeding programs.
- See if there is an initiative you can support that addresses specific food challenges. For example, The Great American Milk Drive works to provide local food banks with milk.
There are many programs helping feed people, and you can be a part of this exciting process! Find your local food bank through Feeding America, and see what they have available. You may end up serving food at a soup kitchen, sorting food in a warehouse, distributing food in a parking lot, and more! In fact, September is Hunger Action Month, which is the perfect excuse to start.
You’ve probably already heard about all the marvelous things gardening does for your body and soul. Now, you can also help other people in the process! You can help through volunteering, donating supplies, building garden beds, leading the garden or transporting the produce to a nearby food pantry. Find a garden near you, see if they already donate to local feeding programs and ask how you can help.
I hope this has inspired you to get involved in the world of food access! You don’t have to start big or go to another country to change lives. Start small. Start with what you know. Start with where you are. Just don’t forget to start.