The Charities and Food Insecurity

Why Food Bank Charities?

Need is everywhere

About 795 million people worldwide face hunger, according to the World Food Programme – one in nine people on earth. And hunger knows no borders, with serious challenges in high- and low-income nations alike. In India, one in six people go hungry; in the United States; it’s about one in eight, including one in six children.

There’s enough food – but much of it goes unused

“There is enough food to feed the world’s hungry,” said Natascha Hinsch, executive director of the Food Banking Network of Argentina, “but more than one third of food produced is wasted.” Most of that ends up in landfills, where it produces greenhouse gasses.

Food banking “is a proven solution,” she said. “Food banks rescue perfectly edible food before it is discarded.”

What you give matters

It’s not just about food – it’s about healthy food. That means donating things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins.

In the Feeding America network, for instance, 68 percent of the food collected is categorized as healthy – with a goal of bringing in enough fruits and vegetables to serve 1.7 billion meals a year through produce by 2025.

Food banks do heavy lifting

When you give, your job might be done. Theirs isn’t.

They’re in the logistics business of getting meals across their networks to people who need it. The 300 food banks of the European Federation of Food Banks (FEBA) alone provide the equivalent of 2.9 million meals per day. In some regions, freight alone can take up 25 percent of a food banking network’s expenses.

That expertise also gives food banks a long reach. “Food banks with efficient supply chain management capabilities and a strong network of partners can supplement government programs to efficiently deliver food to the most needy and unreached,” said Vandana Singh, chief executive of the Food Security Foundation India.

The goals go beyond food

Food banks have a presence in the community that “provides much more than meals,” said Patrick Alix, general secretary of FEBA. “With their volunteers and their partner organizations, they bring hope to people in need and thus deliver social cohesion.”

In fact, giving is only the start. “Although giving is very important, much, much more important is our commitment to human welfare,” said Hinsch of the Argentina network. “This commitment will surely bring about not only sporadic giving, but long term giving and involvement in innovative solutions to different social problems.”

Food Bank Charities for Voting

As an owner of a FooCutie NFT, you will be able to vote on the charity of your choice. If you know of a very good charity that is not on this list, you can fill out the form and make a suggestion to add to the list. Click on the drop down to find more information about each charity.

Feeding America: Breaking the Cycle of Hunger in America

In 1979, John van Hengel founded Feeding America a response to the hunger crisis in America. It all began in St. Mary’s in Arizona with the nation’s first food bank (originally called America’s Second Harvest). Today, Feeding America is a collection of more than 200 food banks that serve food insecure individuals and families across America.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Feeding America has upheld a 4-out-of-4-star rating on Charity Navigator since 2012. They have an overall score of 92% and a 97% score for accountability and transparency. On GuideStar, Feeding America has a gold rating for transparency.

What they do: Feeding America has two main goals: to provide healthy and nourishing meals to families struggling with hunger and to help secure ways for these people to get food in the future. Together, these two goals allow them to offer the food support Americans so desperately need, as well as break the cycle of hunger once and for all. In addition, they also fight to stop food waste, as all the food in America would be enough to feed every person, yet tons of food goes to waste each year.

What they’ve achieved: Feeding America feeds 40 million people at risk of hunger, including 12 million children (totaling about 1 in 7 Americans) by providing 6 billion meals annually. They currently have over 60,000 food pantries in their network, which are part of 200 food banks found across the nation.

Meals on Wheels America: Fighting Against Senior Hunger

Since 1954, Meals on Wheels America has fought senior hunger across the United States. It started as a small group in Philadelphia and has since gone on to serve millions each year. They deliver meals that improve the health of senior citizens who can’t provide for themselves.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Meals on Wheels America currently has an 86% rating on Charity Navigator with a 97% rating in accountability and transparency. The organization also has a silver award for accountability and transparency on GuideStar.

What they do: Meals on Wheels America aims to provide high-quality and nutritious meals to senior citizens, which improves their health and quality of life. Their friendly service also helps seniors battling loneliness and checks in on them periodically to ensure their safety.

What they’ve achieved: Meals on Wheels America serves nearly 2.4 million Americans each year, of which 62% are 75 or older and 58% live alone. They have millions of volunteers which collectively deliver 221 million meals annually.

No Kid Hungry: Leading the Fight Against Childhood Hunger

In 2010, No Kid Hungry was launched by the international charity Share Our Strength to completely eradicate childhood hunger in America. They seek to do this through their grants and advocacy programs. While Share Our Strength is an international charity, they founded No Kid Hungry to have a more local focus in the United States.

What they do: No Kid Hungry, as the name suggests, believes that every kid throughout America deserves the nutritious food they need to grow. They primarily focus on ending childhood hunger, which they do by providing grants to schools and other partner organizations. They also perform a lot of advocacy work to ensure government officials support policies that will protect their mission.

What they’ve achieved: No Kid Hungry sent $74 million to schools in March and April of 2020 alone, which is the largest private donation ever towards school meal programs. Their advocacy also increased the SNAP program by 15% to give about $25 per month to working families and waived restrictions on schools in how they can feed kids.

Midwest Food Bank: Food Distribution and Disaster Relief

In 2003, the Kieser family started the Midwest Food Bank to address the food disparity between the wealthy and poor in their community. To do this, they turned their barn into a distribution site for local food pantries. They soon realized the need for growth and eventually grew to operate in multiple locations across the US, where they serve millions of dollars worth of food to impact millions of people through their partner organizations.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Midwest Food Bank is a highly rated charity on Charity Navigator, with a 96% overall score and a perfect 100% score in accountability and transparency. They’ve maintained 4 stars on the platform since 2011. On GuideStar, they received a platinum seal for accountability and transparency in 2020.

What they do: Midwest Food Bank provides food for their partner organizations across the US, including food pantries. They also provide disaster relief food services and are a first responder to the Salvation Army. Each disaster request they’re able to fulfill within 24 hours, providing timely relief to those in need of emergency help.

What they’ve achieved: Midwest Food Bank impacts more than 4 million hungry Americans each month. They do this by distributing $32 million worth of food to their over 2000 partner organizations.

Second Harvest Heartland: The Safety Net of Food Stability

Second Harvest Heartland believes wholeheartedly in being a “safety net” for their community to ensure food stability for the long term. They were formed in 2001 when two charities with more than 44 years of experience combined forces – Second Harvest Greater Minneapolis and Second Harvest St. Paul. Today they’re known as Second Harvest Heartland, and each year they provide millions of meals to those in need.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Second Harvest Heartland received a 3-star rating on Charity Navigator, including a 96% rating for accountability and transparency. They received a platinum seal for accountability and transparency on GuideStar, which is GuideStar’s highest honor.

What they do: Second Harvest Heartland has two main goals to stabilize hungry families and strengthen the hunger relief system. They believe that no one should have to worry where their next meal is coming from – they should be able to focus on their parenting, their studies, or wherever else life is taking them. They also partner with many organizations to rescue food from going to waste and deliver it to schools, clinics, food pantries, and others in need.

What they’ve achieved: Each year, Second Harvest Heartland serve meals to more than half a million people. They achieve this by rescuing 113 million pounds of food annually, which translates to 97 million meals, 65% of which include fresh items.

Houston Food Bank: America’s Largest Food Bank

Houston Food Bank was founded in 1982 to serve the over one million people who were food insecure. Today, they’re America’s largest food bank and deliver fresh meals to solve the growing food crisis.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Houston Food Bank has a 95% rating on Charity Navigator, including a 100% rating for accountability and transparency. They also have a platinum seal of transparency from GuideStar.

What they do: Houston Food Bank has two main goals in their service – they seek to tackle short-term food insecurity, as well as bring programs to help with long-term food stability. These programs include “nutrition education, job training, health management, and help in securing state-funded assistance.”

What they’ve achieved: Each year, Houston Food Bank delivers 159 million fresh meals to tackle food insecurity, 8 million of which go to kids. They distribute food to their 1500 community partners to ensure food security is widespread.

Food Bank for the Heartland: Collaboration to End Hunger

Food Bank for the Heartland was founded in 1981 for the purpose of distributing food to schools, food pantries, and other organizations. In 2011, their volume increased so much they moved to their current 76,000 square foot facility to distribute millions of meals each year to those in need. They believe fighting hunger is an “ongoing collaborative effort,” so they also pool their resources with food manufacturers, the USDA, and more.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Food Bank for the Heartland has a 93% rating on Charity Navigator, and have maintained or went above this rating each year since 2010. They also received a gold award for transparency from GuideStar.

What they do: Food Bank for the Heartland seeks to end hunger, which they do through providing food supplies to those who need it most, whether on an emergency or supplementary basis. They also firmly believe in education and have nutrition resources and recipes freely available to ensure their food nourishes the people they serve.

What they’ve achieved: In 2020 alone, they provided 281 million meals, which was over 5 million up from the previous year. This included 6.8 million pounds of fresh produce, which went to their 610 network partners.

Loaves and Fishes: Providing Nutritious Groceries

In 1975, a small group of church members in North Carolina knew they needed to face a growing issue – food insecurity. Together they started Loaves and Fishes, which already served 1000 people in its first year alone. Today they’re a network of food pantries serving thousands.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Loaves and Fishes has a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator. This includes a 95% financial score and a perfect score of 100% for accountability and transparency.

What they do: Loaves and Fishes provides groceries on a per-week basis to individuals and families suffering from food shortages. Rather than just providing them with random food items, they put the needs of those they serve first. They make their choices a priority and provide them with the foods they’re likely to eat. They also work with a registered dietician to make sure the groceries serve all their health needs.

What they’ve achieved: Each year, Loaves and Fishes serves 119,750 people in need of groceries. For example, in 2020 alone, Loaves and Fishes raised $3.4 million in food donations.

Statistics in the US: (According to FRAC )

  • Overall: Over 38 million Americans (11.8 percent) lived in households that struggled against food insecurity, or lack of access to an affordable, nutritious diet. This represents a 9 percent increase from 2019.

  • One in 25 (3.9 percent) of households in the U.S. experienced very low food security, a more severe form of food insecurity, where households report regularly skipping meals or reducing intake because they could not afford more food.

  • Children: 1 in 7 (14.8 percent) households with children could not buy enough food for their families, considerably higher than the rate for households without children (8.8 percent).

  • Rural: Households in rural areas experienced deeper struggles with hunger compared to those in metro areas, with higher rates of food insecurity overall (11.6 percent in rural areas compared to 10.4 percent in metro areas).

  • Race and ethnicity: Black (21.7 percent) and Latinx (17.2 percent) households are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, with food insecurity rates in 2020 triple and double the rate of White households (7.1 percent), respectively.

  • Geography: The food insecurity rate is highest in the South (12.3 percent), followed by the Midwest, West, and Northeast.

  • The prevalence of food insecurity varied considerably by state, ranging from 5.7 percent in New Hampshire to 15.3 percent in Mississippi (for the three-year period of 2018–2020).

Suggesting A Charity

There are many different charities that help contribute to hunger but not every charity is highly rated. These are some things to consider before making a suggestion or donation to a charity. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.

  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission.

  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.

  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing the progress a charity makes in reaching its targets, the chances are not making positive change.

  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.

  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place.

If you would like to suggest a charity, please fill out the form (coming soon).