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Food pantries & Food banks - what's the difference?

A food pantry staff member helps a client with his selections.

With the holidays fast approaching your local food pantry is usually in need of extra donations.  Food banks and food pantries are non-profit, charitable organizations that give food to those in need.

In most cases, food banks operate as a storage facility and distribute to smaller food pantries that give out the food.  The gentleman noted as being the founder of the first food bank in the United States was John van Hengel.  In 1967 he organized the St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Arizona.  Other large networks exist today including Second Harvest / Feeding America.

Food banks and pantries exist all over the world:  Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia and Africa to name just a few places.  There are over 25 countries with active food bank groups under the organization of The Global Food Banking Network, and many more that haven’t joined a network but still provide food.

Our local food pantries also rely very heavily on the generous donations of the community.  They assist numerous families every month and truly appreciate the community’s support.  Food items or monetary donations are graciously accepted from people with big hearts that want to help others.

You can contact your local food pantry to find out what they may be in need of.  Their contact information may be found on our homepage at