Between the housing bust and the credit crisis, millions of families have had to turn to their local food bank for help. A recent study conducted by Feeding America, an organization that runs food banks across the country, found that one out of every eight adults, and one out of every five children received food from a food bank last year. That’s almost double the amount needing help four years ago.
According to an article in USA Today, the jump in people lining up at food banks comes at a time when a record number of families are also applying for food stamps. In fact, according to the Feeding America study, more than a third of the people getting food at the food bank have had to choose between buying food for their families and other necessities, like rent, utilities and health care. The good news is the government, individuals and companies have stepped up their donations in recent months. However, demand is so high that food goes out as fast as it comes in. One food bank in Texas more than doubled the amount of food they brought in this year, and they’re still not meeting the needs of their community. A food bank in Nevada is feeding four times as many people and donations just aren’t keeping up.
So, the next time you walk into your kitchen, take a look in your cupboards. Chances are you’ve got something extra in there – a can of tuna, some chicken noodle soup, or a box of mac-n-cheese. Consider donating these items to your local food bank. Here are the top foods needed by food banks right now:
- Proteins. Canned meats such as tuna, chicken or fish are high in protein and low in saturated fat. Unfortunately, these foods are too expensive for food banks to buy in large quantities.
- Soups and stews. They’re filling, contain liquid for hydration, and they’re often filled with protein and vegetables.
- Cereal, including oatmeal. Most cereals today include a variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Canned fruits. Only a small amount of vitamin C is lost in the canning process, making these a healthy choice.