The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the world with a multitude of unprecedented problems. One of the most pressing issues has been the increased need for food pantry resources. Whether families unexpectedly lost their source of income or those who were previously struggling continue to have a lack of resources, there is an increased demand for food pantry services. Unfortunately, with the social distancing and lockdown measures that have been enforced as a result of COVID-19, many food pantries were unable to function in their normal capacities or unable to function at all. Now, more than ever, food pantries and soup kitchens need your help. Below I have listed 5 easy ways you can help your local food pantry and all of the people who depend on its' resources.
1. Host a food drive
This is a great contactless way to help out. Note that many food pantries are now looking to provide healthy options. Consider asking people to donate cans of white tuna, peanut butter, squeezable apple sauce, canned vegetables and fruits, assorted nuts, beans, granola bars, whole grain crackers, and brown rice.
2. Host a toiletry drive
Toiletries are always accepted by food pantries and are often always on their list of needed inventory. Products such as feminine hygiene products, baby diapers, or hand sanitizer can make a huge difference in the lives of many families and individuals. Consider asking for items such as, but not limited to: hand sanitizer, baby diapers and wipes, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, paper towels, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and home cleaning supplies.
During the current pandemic, many food pantries and soup kitchens have been short on volunteers. If you are willing and able, consider volunteering at a local pantry. They have many volunteer opportunities that do not involve coming in contact with others such as shelf stocking and inventory logging. Anything helps!
4. Make meals at home
Some food pantries or relief organizations accept premade meals that are constructed following a set of predetermined guidelines. This can be a great way for you to get involved and do your part to help out. Reach out to your local pantry and ask if they will accept brown bagged lunches or homemade sandwiches.
5. Make a monetary donation
Please consider donating to your local food pantry during this difficult time. You can also consider donating to larger funds such as the Feeding America COVID-19 Response Fund.