Last week, I volunteered at my local food pantry at Salt Creek Resource Center, 701 E Clinton Ave. , in my hometown of Farmer City. I packed food with other volunteers, some of them relatives, and found myself deeply moved by the whole experience. A lot of the people I grew up with took the time to give back to their community. With so many Americans facing food shortages, it’s important to give back and volunteer, not just during the holidays, but next year.
More than 38 million people in the United States deal with food insecurity, according to Feeding America, an organization dedicated to fighting hunger. It goes without saying that no American should choose between paying the bills and feeding themselves and their families.
To combat this hunger, food banks and stores help people by providing food. A food pantry is a smaller organization that deals with specific communities that often contain non-perishable food. A food bank is a large location, like a warehouse, with millions of pounds of food handed out to local pantries, especially foods with a shorter shelf life like fresh produce, bread, and milk.
There are more than 200 banks and 60,000 stores operating within Feeding America, according to them website. Very few of them could exist without the hard work of volunteers. During this pandemic, we have all lost something: a family member, friends, jobs, opportunities, hope. But we still have a chance to give back and help those who are still suffering.
Almost every community has a food pantry that you can volunteer at. Inside DeKalb-Sycamore, there are nine food pantries, according to DeKalb County Health Department. One of them is the Huskie Food Pantry which serves food insecure NIU students.
As someone who has volunteered there in the past, this is an organization worth helping out. If you’re a student, volunteering there once a month can mean the world to them and the people the Huskie Food Pantry serves. To volunteer, visit website.
Not everyone has the time to spend a few hours volunteering. But you can still donate to local food stores, a food bank, or Feeding America.
With 2022 fast approaching, let’s work to help as many people as possible find the help they need.