yes, most cities in the US of maybe more than 25,000 people have food banks or food pantries. these are places where people who are out of food or out of money can go get a free supply of groceries.
i started at our food bank almost 13 years ago as a volunteer.
i have been on staff for the past almost 10 years. it was a full time job for most of it. we have seven staff.
we are a non-profit. we apply for grants, and get a little help from local govt. we are supported by a volunteer crew of about 70 regulars and about 300 seasonal volunteers. we are basically a middle-man. we rescue or accept donations of food from donors, grocery stores, food drives, and monetary contributions. we then distribute this food to people who for whatever reason are out of money or out of food. there are rules, you can only come once a month, you have to fill out a survey, then you get a food allotment based on your family size.
there are also food bank warehouses that take in food from the US department of agriculture for us to distribute. these warehouses also get out of date food, such as promotional items. for instance, once a promotion is over (beauty and the beast corn flakes, or rug rats mac & cheese, etc) they get the leftovers that still have a shelf life of a year or two.
in this town of 55,000, about 10,000 people benefit from our services-the poverty rate in america averages 20%. they are people who have an income that is low, or maybe their car broke down-and that 500 bucks went to that instead of groceries, or someone who has big medical bills and can’t afford groceries. you name it. even poor college students can come in.
the usda used to have a government surplus program where they would give people cheese, milk, peanut butter, etc. these programs were cut and now private, non-profit charities are picking up the slack.
what do i do there? i started as the volunteer coordinator, and my job was to staff the place with volunteer labor. then i became the warehouse manager where my job is now to purchase food with donated money, do food pickups, get the free store ready everyday, among other duties.
it has been a great job.
actually i am quitting this friday after almost 13 years there. i am ready for a change. so there’s a job opening if you are interested.
you could google food banks in america and find an endless array of topics.