From Providing Emergency Food to Innovating to Eliminate Hunger

2012 Update: 

Kat Rosqueta interviews Bill Clark, executive director of Philabundance, the largest food bank and hunger relief organization in the Philadelphia region, to talk about Fare & Squarean innovative new initiative they have developed to bring food access to those in need. Learn more about this nonprofit grocery store...

Provide emergency food for hungry families

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Historically high rates of unemployment, home foreclosure, and lack of access to affordable medical services have left families increasingly unable to meet that most fundamental need: to put food on the table. In 2010, 17.2 million American households, approximately one in seven families, found it difficult or impossible to provide enough food for all their members.

How You Can Help

By financially supporting food banks, which distribute donated and discounted emergency food, you can contribute to dramatically decreasing the number of hungry families.

High Impact Opportunity

Conventional drives collect packaged food, producing a mix of food that often does not match family needs or provide good nutrition. There is a better and more cost-effective way. Regional food banks, like Feeding America West Michigan and Philabundance, can feed a family of four for as little as $16 – $40 per week. The USDA estimates that buying the same amount of food at retail prices could cost $160 – $230 or more. How do they do it? By using cash donations to obtain deeply discounted and donated food provided by national food and grocery companies, food banks create balanced diets at a fraction of the cost.

Take Action

Make monetary donations, instead of food contributions, to your regional food bank. To locate a food bank in your area, visit and enter your zip code or state for a list of emergency food providers.


To expand your impact, look for organizations that work to improve people’s access to food — such as mobile pantries, telephone hotlines, and multiple convenient locations. Seek out those which offer healthy food options, such as fresh vegetables and fruits.

For more examples and tips, see our guide High Impact Philanthropy in the Downturn, pages 29-31.

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