Due to COVID 19 impact, more than 37 MILLION people in the US — including 11 million children and 5.5 million seniors— are facing food insecurity. In addition there has been a 70% increase in demand from food banks.
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About Feeding America
For more than 35 years, Feeding America has responded to the hunger crisis in America by providing food to people in need through a nationwide network of food banks.
The concept of food banking was developed by John van Hengel in Phoenix, AZ in the late 1960s. Van Hengel, a retired businessman, had been volunteering at a soup kitchen trying to find food to serve the hungry. One day, he met a desperate mother who regularly rummaged through grocery store garbage bins to find food for her children. She suggested that there should be a place where, instead of being thrown out, discarded food could be stored for people to pick up—similar to the way “banks” store money for future use. With that, an industry was born.
The Nation’s First Food Bank
Van Hengel established St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, AZ as the nation’s first food bank. In its initial year, van Hengel and his team of volunteers distributed 275,000 pounds of food to people in need. Word of the food bank’s success quickly spread, and states began to take note. By 1977, food banks had been established in 18 cities across the country.
As the number of food banks began to increase, van Hengel created a national organization for food banks. Furthermore, he established Second Harvest, which was later called America’s Second Harvest the Nation’s Food Bank Network. In 2008, the network changed its name to Feeding America to better reflect the mission of the organization.
Today, Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. This includes a powerful and efficient network of 200 food banks across the country. As food insecurity rates hold steady at the highest levels ever, the Feeding America network of food banks has risen to meet the need. We feed 40 million people at risk of hunger, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. Learn more about how we get food to people in need in our “How We Work” section. Support Feeding America and help solve hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate.
Why Feeding America?
Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Thanks to donations and support from businesses, government organizations and individuals like you, the Feeding America network of food banks, pantries and meal programs serve virtually every community in the United States — 40 million people, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors.
The Feeding America network provides over 4.3 billion meals annually. As a result, it is able to help 1 in 7 Americans facing hunger live more secure and stable lives.
Charity Navigator gives us its highest rating, including four-star ratings for Overall, Financial, and Accountability & Transparency. And we are proud to be an accredited charity by the Better Business Bureau. Learn more about our charitable ratings, or view our Financial Information and Annual Reports.
Feeding America Fights Food Waste
When we stop food waste, we take a big step toward ending hunger.
America has more than enough food to feed everyone. But an enormous amount of food is wasted in the United States each year. Feeding America partners with food manufacturers, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers. This helps prevent food waste and rescue surplus food to help feed people visiting our network of food banks.
Each year, 72 billion pounds of food goes to waste while 37 million Americans struggle with hunger.
52 billion pounds of food from manufacturers, grocery stores and restaurants end up in landfills rather than kitchen tables.
Feeding America focuses on the first three areas: farms, manufacturers and consumer-facing businesses. By partnering with leaders and local members of these industries, Feeding America can find ways to rescue more food that would have otherwise gone to waste—and feed more people in need. Watch this video to learn how the Feeding America network rescues food every day.
It’s about sustainability, too.
Food loss occurs at every stage of the food production and distribution system. In other words, 52 billion pounds of food ends up in landfills. In addition, 20 billion pounds of fruits and vegetables are discarded on farms or left in fields and plowed under.
Approximately 72 billion pounds of perfectly good food ends up in landfills every year. Rescuing this perfectly edible, whole food means feeding families facing hunger. Furthermore, taking a large step in protecting our planet and conserving our resources.
National food industry and environmental organizations, government agencies and even the UN agree. Reducing food waste in the US has to be a top priority for protecting the environment. In addition, the UN set the ambitious goal of reducing food waste by half in the year 2030. In addition, the EPA and USDA are now working to meet that goal.
We will reduce the needless waste of good food so we can feed our families and resources.
Last year, the Feeding America network and our partners rescued 3.6 billion pounds of food.
That food went straight to feeding people facing hunger. But we can do more. So Feeding America works closely with the people who understand food’s lifecycle best. That is to say manufacturers, distributors, retailers, foodservice companies and farmers. All working to divert and gather food before it goes to waste.
Working with experts gives us insight into how food goes to waste. Furthermore, it helps us get more of it to food banks across the country. To maximize our effectiveness, we’ve developed ways to gauge demand from individual food banks. And in turn, safely ship food over long distances and keep food fresh longer once it reaches a food bank.
We’re working on new innovative ways to get perfectly good food to children, seniors and families who need it most. Here are a few examples of the new solutions we have in action to rescue food:
Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee works hand-in-hand with one of the country’s largest green bean growers. They rescue millions of pounds of green beans that are snapped or too short for grocery stores. together. Watch how this partnership puts more healthy vegetables on the plates of people in need.
One of Feeding America’s newest innovations, MealConnect, makes safe and quick food donations possible. It does this by matching food businesses directly to the Feeding America network. Local stores, restaurants, hotels and more can alert nearby food banks/pantries when they have food ready for pick up. In other words, making more good food available and revolutionizing local food rescue. To read more about how MealConnect works, visit MealConnect.org.