How do Food Banks work?

September 13, 2021 / 5 mins read

How do food banks work and what is the difference between a food bank and a food pantry?

a) they are the same thing

b) pantries distribute food directly to people in need, food banks don't

c) food pantries are always faith-based, like through a church

d) a food bank stocks a community partner food pantry with groceries

Did you guess D? Then you are correct!

A food bank is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to hunger-relief community partners. Food banks act as food storage and distribution depots for smaller front-line agencies and usually do not themselves give out food directly to people struggling with hunger. So, it may seem that "B" would be correct. However, the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank has several programs that directly distribute food to those in need with the help of community partners and volunteers. For example, our Mobile Pantry, special distributions, senior feeding, and summer feeding programs are managed by the FRFB. We rarely distribute directly from our warehouse and usually depend on our community partners to offer a location for convenient distribution such as The Moss Clinic, The Fredericksburg Expo Center, public schools, libraries, campgrounds, etc.

However, in certain circumstances, when there is great need, we will distribute directly from the food bank. We did this briefly during the government shutdown and regularly since the pandemic started due to so many of our community partner agencies closing. One thing that is certain is without our network of donors, community partners, and volunteers we could not feed the more than 31,500 people who need food assistance.

As part of Hunger Action Month, we ask that you consider what you can do to help us end hunger. We all have our part to play in helping our neighbors facing hunger. Take some time to think about how you can speak up, learn, or commit during the month of September. A donation of food, funds, or your time will have a ripple effect in our community. Remember that a healthy community is a strong community!

Support our cause to feed the hungry