Opinion Graphic 1

Money. That’s what food banks need much more than your food.  

There are many food pantries, banks and assistance programs that have popped up in Bowling Green. These programs do a lot to help people and aid the issues that plague college students with food insecurity.

With these programs, the publicity they receive inevitably coincides with pleas to donate.  

Although making direct donations of food seems like it might be the best way to help, it is not.  

The Toledo Food Bank claims that for every $1 donated, they are able to provide 5 meals.  

This is in line with industry-wide standards that food banks can simply access more food for less money, though the exact amount varies by location. 

As Feeding America states, many pantries are able to interface directly with farmers, corporations and grocery stores to source foods, especially fresh ones.  

This means that they can purchase many foods in bulk, such as produce, frozen goods and food that would otherwise be thrown away.

To do this, of course, they need money, not stray boxes of crackers.

Donation drives are a drop in the bucket of how food banks get their supply. While canned good collections and the like are noble efforts, they’re naively supporting the idea that this is the best way to give to food banks.

This is not a secret, either.  

Almost every major food bank, collection agency or umbrella group all have information posted about how monetary donations are more impactful than donations of goods.  

So why are goods donations still so prevalent?  

Well, there’s no great answer, but it’s easy to think of a few theories.  

A feeling of direct impact by donating is certainly a very plausible reason. It’s much easier to visualize how we’re helping someone when we donate a good, rather than money. However, this flies in the face of donations’ purpose.

We should not be donating to tell ourselves we are good people. We should donate because it helps people. Therefore, we should donate in the way that best helps people.  

So if you’re going to give, give your money or give your time. It’ll do more good than your dusty old can of green beans.

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