Mother Teresa once said that she alone could not change the world, but if she cast a stone in the water, she could create many ripples. This ideology is what people need to be imparted with, especially now that the pandemic requires us to care for our neighbors. Everyone is going through tough times, but that little thing you do will make a difference because when combined with other people’s efforts, it will have a positive change. The report of how two boys bake and sell dog treats to raise money for the local food bank is the ideal example of how we can help food banks in these trying times. Learn the different ways to assist food banks, the challenges they face, and if they are solving the problem.
Ways to help food banks
According to the Wall Street Journal, food banks have had to make do with the little they have due to the canceled food drives. To replenish their supplies, they have resorted to purchasing food, which is quite expensive; hence their revenues have been declining with each passing month. Citizens can, however, do something to lend a hand, just like the two boys who baked dog treats to help fundraise for their local food bank. Daniel and Max, who are best friends from Milton, decided to use their baking skills to make some dog treats, which they realized their neighbors needed so much. Instead of pocketing the income, they opted for the more noble cause of donating the cash to Milton Food Bank. By June 14, 2020, Daniel and Max had sold dog treats worth $250 and were anticipating more money from the 50 orders they had secured.
If your culinary skills are not worthy of treating your neighbors’ dogs to some treats, you still can contribute some supplies instead. When COVID-19 was reported, and lockdown orders had to be implemented, people were so afraid of running out supplies that they cleaned the supermarket shelves. Most consumers went for canned foods, yet that is what food banks prefer due to the unavailability of enough storage facilities for frozen foods. As a result, food banks have been running low on food, and you can check out what your local one needs. Even if you do not have time to keep surfing the internet to confirm what your local food bank requires, some of the supplies are always welcome regardless of region. Such foods include tinned vegetables, meat, and soup, as well as UHT milk, biscuits, vegetarian options, among others.
Challenges that food banks face
As much as we are encouraged to donate tinned foods, the pantries may not get to achieve their mission from such donations. According to Rampage, people feel like they are helping out by buying tinned foods in bulk and giving them to food pantries. Unfortunately, such foods are not of high-quality hence do not meet the nutritious needs of the recipients. The processed foods may provide the energy needed by those in need, but the fact they lack access to regular balanced meals means that they should consume a lot of nutritious foods often. Therefore before you go clearing supermarket shelves arming yourself with baskets of biscuits, consider buying some dairy products, fruits and vegetables instead.
Another problem with most donations is that they end up doing more harm than good to the recipients. Processed foods contain a lot of sodium, sugars, and chemicals that may lead to consumers developing diabetes and other diseases. While we all contribute with good intentions, those in need will eventually have worse problems. Besides lacking food, they will have to deal with the expensive medication that they cannot afford. Additionally, such diseases demand special diets which the food banks cannot provide, and in the end, it becomes a vicious cycle of poverty. Yet, the pantries were supposed to alleviate this problem.
Food banks are not the solution to poverty
No matter how many food banks we have, no amount of food charity will solve the food insecurity problem in the country. Matter of fact is instead of fewer people requiring the help of food pantries, the number of those in need has continued to rise over the years. The president of Community Food Centers Canada, Nick Saul, explained that it is not because the nation is breeding a generation of lazy citizens who do not know how to budget their income; the issue is that the pay is much lower than the expenditure. Most people earn minimum wage and cannot afford housing, daycare, and other basic needs.
A paradigm shift has been advised to eliminate the food insecurity problem so that we stop relying on food banks that depoliticize hunger and address the symptoms instead of the cause, as phrased by The Conversation. While they do not solve the problem they were created to eliminate, food banks have instead become very useful in promoting corporate social responsibilities by companies. Such businesses also enjoy tax deductions and reduced waste disposal fees from the donations they make.
Therefore like Nick Saul, the only solution to food insecurity is progressive public policy. The leading cause for lack of food is scarce resources, so instead of putting a Band-Aid on the problem, we should address its root, which is low income. We cannot blame the pandemic for the lack of food; food banks have been in existent long before the coronavirus. If public policies can change to increase the minimum wage and also provide affordable housing, families will be left with more money to cater for their needs. Currently, more food banks are being launched due to increased demand. However, if people can afford to buy enough food to feed their families, then we can predict that in the next few decades, food banks will have to close down due to lack of demand.