Rising temperatures and sunshine may have you dreaming of your summer getaway. Unfortunately, hunger doesn’t go on vacation. It persists and is a daily concern for too many. Once your back from that vacation, think about offering some of your time to help the hungry.
For example, you could volunteer at a local Food Bank. Team Lulu volunteered for a shift at ours, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Let us show you how you can make a difference in your community!
The Central & Eastern North branch serves 6 North Carolina counties and works with over 173 agencies to serve 106,990 food-insecure households.
To appreciate the significance of Food Banks, you have to unpack the term “food insecure.” Location can dictate access to healthy, fresh foods. For others, their hunger stems from financial stress. Imagine facing the difficult decision; pay the bills, fix the car, or buy groceries.
Keep in mind that 30,750 of 106,900 households include children. That’s nearly one-third of all food-insecure households this one Food Bank branch services.
No One Goes Hungry
So how does the Food Bank of CENC fulfill their ambitious mission to ensure “No One Goes Hungry in Central and Eastern North Carolina”?
Liz Ohrberg, the Food Bank’s assistant volunteer coordinator, explained the three main sources of donations:
- Farmers give “ugly” food that most consumers won’t buy in the grocery store. Lumpy sweet potatoes are still nutritious.
- The Food Bank participates in “Feeding America,” a program enabling food banks to swap goods with other food banks. “You have too many bananas? Great, we have too many bottles of water. Let’s trade!”
- Fundraisers and food drives like the NC State Fair’s Hunger Relief Day raise awareness and collect donations from the general public. Fun fact: This year’s Hunger Relief Day brought in 235,000 pounds of food in a single day!
Team Lulu at the food bank
Team Lulu, along with a volunteer group from Lenovo and a school group, assisted the Durham branch’s warehouse with sorting and repackaging bulk food items and non-food essential items donated from local grocery stores.
We sorted pallets of donations into categories including dry goods, canned foods, plastic and glass liquids, water, other beverages, and non-food items like cleaning and hygiene products. In assembly-line style, we inspect each can and package to ensure the seal wasn’t compromised. Items that passed the test are repackaged into their corresponding category and then placed onto pallets to be distributed. Medications are set aside to be donated to local health clinics and pet supplies to animal shelters.
Another fun fact: We learned that most canned goods are safe to eat even two years after the best buy date! Dry goods aren’t quite so durable but are still typically safe for 6 months after that date.
Taking a bite out of hunger
Three hours later and we sorted 13 pallets of approximately 9750 pounds of food. That’s enough food to create 8,211 meals!
In previous years the Durham Food Bank distributed an average of 64.4 million pounds of food annually. They’re on pace this year to distribute almost 70 million pounds of food.
Employees that were unable to attend the volunteer day still contributed to ending hunger through our company food drive. Lulu collected 86 pounds of non-perishable food items!
Want to put the “fun” back in “fundraiser”? Look no further than the Lulu Bookstore! You can create unique gifts for donors like calendars, notebooks, and other printed collateral about your organization.
Here’s a selection of Lulu books already on the bookstore about hungry and how we can help:
Roadmap to Improving Food & Physical Activity
Roadmap to Improving Food and Physical Activity Environments: Tips and Tools for Community Change
Setting the Table
Setting the Table: Towards Greater Food Security in Lowell, Massachusetts, evaluates the barriers Lowell residents face in obtaining food and recommends actions that might be taken to further food security in the city. This report was created for the Lowell Food Security Coalition, a collaboration of forty community organizations, formed to help residents become more self-reliant and food-secure. Once the center of the textile industry, attracting workers from all over the world, Lowell today is still recovering from the departure of that and other industries. As some Lowell residents struggle to make ends meet, they can face the added challenge of finding food that is nutritious and culturally appropriate, in this city of immigrants.
Caring About Hunger
In this world of abundant resources and huge wealth, hunger cannot be understood simply as a problem of food production. It is also a matter of human relations. Hunger grows out of widespread indifference and exploitation.
The goal of ending hunger has been achieved in many places, including places where people have little money. In stable, strong communities, where people care about one another’s well-being, no one goes hungry. That caring is strengthened when people work and play together. This insight tells us the direction we need to take to move toward a world without hunger. The problem of global hunger will be solved when we learn to live together well locally.
Let’s work together to be the change we seek. How do you support your local community? Do you volunteer at a similar Food Bank? Or do something totally different? We know you have a story, and we want you to tell that story.
Sheridan is Lulu’s Coordinator of Sustainability and Outreach. She is an author advocate, B Corp Champion, friend to all cats everywhere, and a clog aficionado.