The Vermont Foodbank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. With a network of 200 member food banks across the country, Feeding America supplies more the 3 billion pounds of food and grocery products annually.
Below, we offer an excerpt from Hunger in America, the largest study of charitable food assistance in America, which describes how the Feeding America network works. To read an executive summary, the full report, and more information on hunger in Vermont specifically, visit our Hunger in America webpage.
“The Feeding America network secures and provides food to families struggling with hunger, operates programs that promote self-sufficiency among the clients served, educates the public about the issue of hunger, and advocates for legislative policies that protect people from going hungry.
“Feeding America member food banks are on the front lines of hunger relief, partnering with local agencies and food programs. In addition to securing national food and funds through the Feeding America national office, food banks secure local resources. While Feeding America’s national office does not receive federal funds, many food banks receive federal hunger-relief funding in the form of commodities, meal reimbursements, or grants. Food banks may also receive state and local funding to support their work.
“Food banks distribute food through a network of nonprofit partner agencies that receive, store, and distribute donated food and grocery products to needy clients. Partner agencies distribute food through food programs such as food pantries, kitchens, and shelters in their service area. Each food bank may work with hundreds of partner agencies to get food to people facing hunger.
“Partner agencies vary in size; some operate a single program, such as a food pantry in a small space, while others are large community organizations that distribute food through various programs at multiple locations (11).
“Partner agencies can provide either emergency or non-emergency food assistance to clients, or, in the case of large multi-service agencies, both. Emergency programs include food pantries that distribute non-prepared foods and grocery products to clients who use these where they live, kitchens that provide prepared meals on site, and emergency shelters that serve meals to clients. Non-emergency programs such as day care and senior congregate-feeding programs have a primary purpose other than emergency food distribution, but they also distribute food.
“Additionally, food banks and partner agencies provide clients with outreach, education, referral, and/or application assistance with federal nutrition programs (11).”
This was an excerpt from the Hunger in America study, the largest study of charitable food assistance in America. To read the full report, as well as Vermont-specific findings, visit our website.
(11) Partner agencies are charitable organizations that have typically entered into agreements with a Feeding America member food bank that outlines the standards that must be adhered to by all the respective food bank’s partner agencies. Other charitable agencies in the nation may provide services similar to those of partner agencies in the Feeding America network, but this study addresses only the services provided by those in the Feeding America network.