By Guest Blogger Leslie Isakoff
Mila is a new mom. She was just getting into the swing of balancing motherhood and work when inflation started to spike. The increased cost of food and gas—plus the new expenses of daycare and diapers—added up fast. Both Mila and her husband work full-time, but last month they realized that their family’s income wouldn’t stretch far enough to cover their bills, and they had to make a choice: Drop the daycare that allowed them both to work or visit a food pantry to cover the gap. They chose the food pantry.
Many of our neighbors are finding themselves in similar situations. Paychecks that used to stretch far enough to cover necessities suddenly don’t, and families are left scrambling. Local food pantries report a 24.1% increase in the number of families requesting assistance during the first half of this year. Almost 26% of these families are like Mila’s—families who have never used a food pantry before.
September is Hunger Action Month—the perfect time to pitch in and help lift the burden of hunger from local families. Here are a few ideas on how you and your family can help:
Share the latest hunger statistics.
Many people are unaware that need is surging and food pantries in our area are struggling to keep up with demand. Food donations are down drastically. Spread the word!
Sign up to donate a bag of food every other month.
A Simple Gesture provides green reusable grocery bags that you fill with nonperishable food. Then on a designated Saturday morning, you put your bag of groceries on your front porch. A volunteer picks up the bag and takes it (along with many others) to a local pantry. To sign up in Guilford County, click here. To sign up in Alamance County, click here.
Hold a food collection drive.
A Simple Gesture provides food collection bags or bins. Once the food drive is complete, we’ll pick up the food and take it to one or more local pantries. To learn more, for Guilford County contact email@example.com. For Alamance County, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Get your neighborhood, faith community, Scout troop, PTA, or social club involved!
Learn about harnessing food waste.
Did you know that approximately 40% of food in the US never gets eaten—that’s about 400 pounds of food per person each year. If you work in food service or own or manage a restaurant or food-related business, you can safely and easily donate leftover food to nonprofits serving meals to clients and the community. To learn more about perishable food donation procedures and options, visit RePurpose or contact Laura Oxner.
We’re all feeling the crunch of increased prices. Families in our area need extra help right now, and food pantries are struggling to meet the need. Make Hunger Action Month the time that you and your family take action to help. If we each do a little, together we will do a lot! Learn more at A Simple Gesture.