We’re heading into the holiday season with the trio of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Not only does this time because more hectic for most people, but it’s also a time when people become more generous and think of donating to others. Of course, one excellent way to donate is to give non-perishable food, but consider this tip for your food bank donation.
What Is Food Insecurity?
Thanks to the pandemic and inflation, food insecurity has a strong presence in our country. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, “10.2 percent (13.5 million) U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2021.”
Due to increased demand, many food banks around the country report that they do not have enough food to give to those in need so now is an excellent time to give to a food bank.
My Experience with Food Insecurity
I have only been food insecure once in my life. I was in 7th grade, and my dad had been laid off 18 months prior. Despite actively searching for a job, he had trouble getting interviews, let alone a job.
Money in our family had always been tight, but after he was laid off, money became very tight. And then his unemployment checks ended. No job was on the horizon, and I remember the panic my mom felt. Feeding our family of four was a challenge.
A Tip for Your Food Bank Donation
That Thanksgiving, someone anonymously left us a basket filled with food. Inside was a large turkey and many canned goods. We were delighted to have that basket. For a few weeks, if we stretched the contents, we wouldn’t have to worry about where our next meal would come from.
During that time, we were always grateful for any food we received. However, most of the non-perishable food that people donated was unbranded. Of course, there is nothing wrong with off-label food, but we hadn’t eaten that way before, so the food wasn’t quite as good to my taste buds. It made me feel “poor.”
But in that Thanksgiving basket, I found an item that made me feel like life was back to normal. Inside the basket were several boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, which had been my favorite before my dad had gotten laid off. I’d eaten that at least twice a week. While I was grateful for the unbranded mac & cheese we received from food banks, having the real thing, the branded mac & cheese I had loved, made me so happy! I don’t remember how the turkey tasted that year, but I still cherish how good the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese tasted.
If you choose to give to a food bank this year, I suggest that you not buy all generic foods. True, they are the most economical choice, and you can donate more food for less money when you buy off-brand. However, I promise you, some child is missing his old favorite food that is now out of financial reach for his family. So, if you buy some name-brand food to mix in with the generics, you will delight the children of the family who receive the food, I promise.
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in Arizona where she dislikes the summer heat but loves the natural beauty of the area.