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How To Find A Food Bank
Food banks are all around in most communities, but aren't easy to find. They don't usually advertise, often don't have signage, and frequently have no web presence. Sometimes they don't even have a phone. How can you find them, then?
The best place to start is still the internet. Google Food Bank and Food Pantry with the name of your town and county. Look at the list you get and write down what comes up as far as where the pantries are and any information about times they are open. Call, if they have a phone number, and ask what their requirements are for a box of food.
Each food pantry will have a different set of requirements, and often they will take your word for your level of income. Sometimes they will want easy forms of documentation. You might get a card to show each time you come, or you will be asked to simply sign in at each visit.
Some pantries let you visit monthly; some are available weekly, and some are even open daily (daily on week days. I haven't yet found anything open on weekends).
After you make your internet list, go to one or two food banks, and see what kind of food you are offered. Some banks have more produce, some even offer a bit of meat, but most will have stable goods like bread, canned veggies/fruit, rice, beans, potatoes, onions, dried fruits, and packaged meal helpers.
You might find you can get by on what one bank offers. It's still worth exploring your area and seeing what else is out there.
To find the rest of the banks, start asking around town if people know where the pantries are. Ask all kinds of people. Needing a hand up is nothing to be ashamed of. Some people will know of one or two, and some will have the entire area dialed. Most of the charities in town know where to send you.
In my area, Catholic Charities is the information hub on low income community services, and sometimes even have food to give away themselves. Google to find your nearest Catholic Charities and give them a call for leads.
It's taken me two years of hunting to find out what is in my area, but now I know of at least a dozen pantries. I could get free, nutritious and plentiful food every weekday. I also know of places to get a good free hot lunch or dinner.
The help is out there, once you start looking around. A lot of these are set in churches (not all of them), but you do not have to have any religious affiliation. Their purpose is to help feed people and families that are down on their luck. They aren't there to judge you.
Content copyright © 2013 by Jill Florio. All rights reserved.
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