We understand the feeling of wanting to get involved in your community but not knowing how to start—really, we do. While you might have all the motivation to volunteer in your community, you might not have the knowledge about different organizations and the best way to get involved. That's what we're here for! If you’re as passionate about helping food-insecure children as we are, this blog is full of ways to get involved in your community's mission to solve hunger. From different organizations you can join to ways that your everyday decisions can help, there are a million ways to make a difference. Here are some of them!
Ways to Get Involved in Your Community
Volunteer at a Local Food Bank
For almost every community in America, there's a food bank that helps local people struggling with hunger—and they’re always looking for volunteers to make, sort and distribute donations to the hungry people who come in. For just a few hours a day once a month, once a week or whenever you get a chance, you can help food banks stay in operation and reach everyone in need.
How to Get Involved: In this technology-driven time, all you need to do is google "food banks in [city]” to get appropriate contact information. Food banks, like our partners, want to encourage as many volunteers as possible, so they'll make it easy for you to get involved.
Participate in or Organize a Food Drive
This is one of the many easy ways to get involved in your community. You can begin a collection in any organization, whether it's your workplace, place of worship, community center or somewhere else. Simply donate non-perishable goods to be dropped off at a local food bank.
How to Get Involved: Keep your eyes peeled for fliers at popular gathering places in the community or google “food drives in [insert your city name here]” for more local food drives. Or, if you'd like to start your own, contact a food bank near you to begin setting it up.
Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen
Soup kitchens are essentially a place where those struggling with hunger can go to escape the weather, meet with others and have a hot meal. If you choose to volunteer at a soup kitchen, you might be preparing food, serving, cleaning, bussing tables, filling water glasses or simply keeping people company.
How to Get Involved: Again, the internet has made it incredibly easy to contact charitable organizations near you. Simply search for "soup kitchens in [city]." If you live in a more rural area, the nearest soup kitchen may be further away, but urban areas often have multiple.
Host a Bag Packing Event
This way to get involved is near and dear to us. Many food banks across America have weekend bag programs that supply children in food-insecure households with supplies for nutritious meals over the weekend, when they aren't being provided food by the National School Lunch Program. That's Caring gifts help fund weekend bag programs across the country, but there's another way you can get involved in them. You can collect food and help pack weekend bags for your local food bank's program.
How to Get Involved: First, we recommend you contact your local food bank. They'll give you any specific rules and information that you need to know. Then, you can follow these steps:
- Decide on a date and location
- Make fliers containing all relevant information
- Distribute them to local businesses and community centers
- Market for the event through social media
- Collect and distribute donations
Organizations to Volunteer with or Support
All of the organizations on this list would not only be happy to have your support, but they would also put it to good use and make the maximum impact in the lives of hungry people.
Feeding America is the number one charity in America when it comes to fighting hunger, with more than 2 billion pounds of donated food and grocery products annually. They feed the hungry in America through a nationwide network of more than 200 nationwide (and in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) member food banks that provide assistance to more than 25 million low-income individuals struggling with hunger in the United States. Nine million of those are children, and nearly three million are seniors.
No Kid Hungry
Donations to No Kid Hungry help the organization Share Our Strength recruit summer meal sites, improve and begin school breakfast programs, and teach families how to shop and cook on a budget. Additionally, through grants to help the most innovative hunger-fighting organizations across the country, No Kid Hungry’s partner organizations purchase food and supplies to keep children of food-insecure families from going hungry.
Meals on Wheels Association of America
Meals on Wheels Association of America sets its sights on decreasing the prevalence of (and eventually ending) hunger in our senior citizens here in America. The organization delivers meals to people who are unable to purchase or make their own meals, keeping innumerable individuals from suffering from hunger or starvation. Meals on Wheels currently has nearly one million volunteers in all 50 states and the U.S. territories.
Freedom from Hunger
Based out of California, Freedom from Hunger has been around since 1946. The organization helps bring sustainable self-help solutions to aid against chronic hunger, combining microfinance with health and education services to allow families with little to no means of income to achieve food security.
Loaves & Fishes
Loaves & Fishes sets its sights on helping food-insecure families feed themselves and their dependents for a week at a time through donations of a week’s worth of nutritious groceries. A nonprofit, nondenominational organization, Loaves & Fishes was founded on the efforts of a church in the late 1970s that responded to a growing hunger problem in North Carolina, and it has since expanded to a nationwide movement that provides the hungry with necessary foods.
City Harvest works to help the more than 1.7 million New York citizens currently living in poverty. The organization helps more than a million people each year fight off hunger by rescuing over 126,000 pounds of food per day, which is then donated to more than 500 community programs. With a goal to grow operations addressing the demand for emergency food, City Harvest is well on its way to becoming the go-to organization in the New York City limits and beyond.
You don't have to do it all to make a difference; a few hours of your time or a small donation can make an impact on the lives of people struggling with hunger in your community.