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Top 3 Things That Keep Food Banks Running

Wednesday July 27, 2022

Have you ever wondered how the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank served over 16.7 million meals in 2021? Here are the top 3 things that help food banks like ours succeed.

#3 Food Drives

Food drives play a vital role in funding a food bank’s success. Not only do food drives help with the mass collection of food products, but they also spread awareness about food insecurity within the community. Individuals are exposed greatly to local need through food drives held by schools, community organizations and businesses.

Individuals can host food drives, too. Hosting a food drive for friends and family holds peers accountable on a personal level. These groups may not have the availability to participate in volunteer hours, yet they can still make a huge impact on their local food banks with food drives.

Additionally, virtual food drives became a popular method of raising money for food banks over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. These virtual donations come in as funds instead of food. Those funds are then used to purchase food in bulk at a lower cost per pound through a national network of food resource vendors.

For more information on hosting your own food drive, visit here.

#2 Volunteering

Volunteers are one of the most essential parts of running a food bank. With the help of volunteers donating their time and efforts, food bank systems run quicker and easier all the way around. There are many different volunteer opportunities that are essential to smooth operations.

At the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, volunteer opportunities can extend far beyond the traditional duties that may be expected. Within the warehouse, volunteers experience a positive and lively environment of music and encouraging conversations. Opportunities also exist outside the warehouse, including administrative support inside the Food Bank office and mobile distributions throughout our 11-parish service area.

In 2021, over 11,000 volunteers were able to donate 43,000 hours to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. All these volunteer experiences aid to make the food bank as efficient and effective as possible in serving our neighbors in need. Community isn’t just felt outside the Food Bank’s doors but also within the hearts of the volunteers.

Register yourself or others to volunteer here.

#1 Funds

Monetary donations have the most impact on the efficiency of our operations because we can make a dollar go a long way through bulk purchasing. Funds also allow food banks to purchase the exact goods that are needed at any given moment. Sometimes we may have more than is needed of one specific food resource but may be missing crucial food items in another category. Thanks to our connections to manufacturers, farmers, and wholesalers, we can locate and purchase these goods at a discounted price and in larger quantities.

Storing and preserving these goods also costs a lot of money. The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank is around 75,000 square feet, and we have multiple industrial-sized refrigerators and freezers. This requires a lot of electricity which can be quite expensive, especially during the hot Louisiana summer months.

Outside of the facilities, the cost of transporting goods is also rising. All trucks used for distributions run on diesel fuel, and this summer, Louisiana has seen the highest fuel prices ever in its history. With all these costs, monetary donations are needed now more than ever.

The one thing that keeps everyone running in America is money, and the Food Bank is not exempt from this. If you’re looking for a way to start small, just $1 can help provide up to 3 meals.

To make a donation to support your community, click here.

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