One of the best things about the holidays is how they bring us together, fill us with gratitude, and inspire us to give back. Many families take the opportunity to express that gratitude through service to others, and a great place to do that is at a food bank! Since we work with food banks year-round, we’ve learned a lot about the amazing work that they do as well as the challenges that they face.
If you’re wondering how you can give back this holiday season, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Money may be more helpful than food
Food banks often receive a large influx of food donations around the holiday times, then experience a serious drop-off at the beginning of the new year. Since lots of the donations come in the form of fresh food with short shelf lives or canned foods that their clients may or may not want to eat, these donation-heavy periods don’t necessarily sustain them through leaner months. Consider donating money instead of food, which can help the food bank year to fill the gaps year-round. Food banks are also often able to purchase food in bulk at a discounted rate, so they may be able to stretch your dollar further than you could yourself when it comes to purchasing donated food. Your dollars can also help to fund essential services like staffing and transportation, and support the sophisticated logistics required to connect fresh food with families in need.
Consider donating your time
With the influx of donations that come around the holidays, it may be that your local food bank could most use an extra pair of hands to help sort through what they’ve received. Contact the food bank in your community to ask how you could be of most assistance. For a list of Food Banks in your area, check out our donation partners page.
Volunteer timing matters too
While it’s fun and inspiring to be part of a small army of volunteers sorting pears or packing rice in November or December, it’s worth remembering that our local food bank might actually need your hands more in February or March. This is because, just like food, volunteers also tend to become much sparser after the holiday season subsides. So, this year, considering making a commitment with family and friends to volunteer after the holidays or multiple times, so we can keep the spirit of holiday giving alive year-round.
Cheers to spreading some holiday cheer every day of the year!