OPTIMISM AMID THE OBSTACLES – DECEMBER 23
Author: Eric Williams
While true, it’s hardly consoling that food banks across the country are facing big challenges: obtaining food and paying more for what they can get. In fact, food banks from Nashville to Juneau flat-out closed this year.
At Second Harvest, we’ve maintained our long-term financial stability but had to make the difficult decision to suspend deliveries to more than 80 partners across our 26-county network. We know that negatively affects people’s lives, and we’re doing everything we can to fill in the gaps.
As our CEO Jason Clark noted, “At every step of evaluating our network, we strive to make modifications that save the most dollars while simultaneously affecting the fewest number of people.”
One example is fuel costs; while gasoline prices have recently settled down, diesel prices remain high, something our friends in the ag sector are keenly aware of. It was costing us $1,000 to fuel up one of our semis, while the shrinking food supply meant they were pulling trailers that were one-third or less full. We also spent an extra $500,000 on food several weeks ago just to shore up supplies. Those tactics are not sustainable.
An online search finds many examples of the challenges food banks and consumers—especially people struggling to make ends meet—are facing. Here are two:
As a member of the Feeding America network, Second Harvest benefits from the insights of that nationwide organization, and experts there continue to sound the alarm that more Americans are facing hunger than at any time in decades.
Food-supply experts are also warning of difficult times ahead. One reason is the turbulent worldwide fertilizer situation, as explained by the Visual Capitalist:
Yet as food bankers, we always maintain a modicum of optimism, whatever the obstacles. Food, funds and friends are what it’s all about, and Second Harvest remains incredibly grateful for our community that responds generously whenever we ask for help.
Together, we’ll continue to move forward while seeking new and better ways to operate in the charitable food system.
Here are some ways each of us can contribute to local food pantries and Second Harvest:
- Volunteer your time: Once a week, once a month or once a year. Local food pantries depend on volunteers every day to serve people facing hunger. At Second Harvest, volunteers help pack and sort millions of pounds of food each year.
- Donate food to your local pantry: Directly collecting food from your business, school, community organization or group of neighbors provides thousands of meals for hungry people.
- Donate dollars: Your donations and efforts make a difference. No gift is too small.
- To find pantries in your area and take action, type your ZIP code into the “Find food near you” box at the top of this page.
This is a monumental challenge and we’re thankful for your years of partnership to serve people facing hunger.