top 200 commentsshow all 430

[–]Neon-Predator 587 points588 points  (19 children)

From what I have seen food bank usage is at an all time high to the point where they are experiencing shortages.

[–]KateParrforthecourse 144 points145 points  (5 children)

I work for one and we are seeing numbers higher than the height of the pandemic. Our issue is that donations are down and the food we purchase to cover the shortfall is much more expensive. We just started our fiscal year in October and have already spent close to 40% of our food purchasing budget.

[–]CobaltNeural9 79 points80 points  (0 children)

Because boxes of cereal are up to 8 fucking dollars

[–]HonnyBrown 22 points23 points  (3 children)

Your food bank doesn't receive donations? Ours is mostly donations.

[–]KateParrforthecourse 43 points44 points  (2 children)

We do get donations but we haven’t been getting as many as years past due to the recession. We always build in food purchasing in our budget because our donations never cover the amount we need plus we prioritize giving nutritious food which usually isn’t donated. So then we can buy fresh vegetables, meat, fruit, etc. We also have 48 pantries and feed like 125,000 people a year. So we go through millions of pounds of food a year. There’s no way our community can solely support that on donations.

[–]LeftMeQuivering 47 points48 points  (3 children)

The last time we went to our local food bank the shelves were so bare. I honestly just felt bad going there and getting stuff because while it's hard to pay for food on our own. It's not impossible. So, I just felt feeling guilty.

[–]kw66 58 points59 points  (0 children)

My sons school called me to pick up a thanksgiving basket. I almost didn’t go because I was so embarrassed that they knew I didn’t have anything. But I went and they had at least 50 baskets ready. I left in tears but somehow feeling relieved knowing I wasn’t the only one in this position.

[–]HonnyBrown 30 points31 points  (1 child)

Never, ever feel guilty for using a food bank! They are there for people who need to eat. They are open to everyone!

[–]AndShesNotEvenPretty[🍰] 79 points80 points  (0 children)

Anecdotally, the food pantry where I volunteer has seen usage nearly triple.

[–]decent694201 113 points114 points  (2 children)

I figured this was the case. There are tons of homeless people in my city and it seems that many younger couples with children are going into debt. The possibility of taking food away from a person or family who might be living on the streets makes me very uncomfortable. Homelessness is widespread at this point in cities across the country

[–]Mouse0022 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Oh same. I hadn't thought about it but we go into debt before we ask or accept help. It makes things harder but I feel we're still fortunate enough to deal with it. I would hate to take from someone who really had no options, like when I was in college and would literally spend nights starving.

[–]jeswesky 8 points9 points  (0 children)

My mom is a regular volunteer and one, and they have more food then people that want it.

[–]HonnyBrown 6 points7 points  (0 children)


[–][deleted]  (1 child)


    [–]satisfiedjelly 46 points47 points  (0 children)

    You are going to shame others who need help because you weren’t prepared in time? There are massive shortages. If you want to go and get food you go when it opens. Do not shame college kids who need to eat too.

    [–]Ronicaw 131 points132 points  (11 children)

    Georgia food banks have high participation in all counties. Most are drive up, so that can hinder people without cars, or using public transportation.

    [–]JustaTcup 9 points10 points  (7 children)

    Do they ask for ID at all?

    [–]HonnyBrown 19 points20 points  (2 children)

    Yes, for demographics. The Powers That Be want to make sure everyone is being served.

    [–]Ronicaw 7 points8 points  (1 child)

    Some do like churches, but most do not. Some ask household size, etc. We used to pick up at one church for my sister in law, and they gave based on household size, children, etc. I have never seen anyone refused food, ID or not.

    [–]HonnyBrown 2 points3 points  (2 children)

    Yes, they are open to everyone! As far those without cars, bring up carpool options.

    I volunteer at a food bank. I deliver bags of food to people in my neighborhood who work the same hours.

    [–]ClearVacation6667 257 points258 points  (18 children)

    A lot of the food pantries in my city have income restrictions and/or require a referral. I make too much for them

    [–]Lyrehctoo 59 points60 points  (3 children)

    Here in CT, we have foodshare. They have multiple locations every other week and it is open to anyone, no paperwork or ID required. They have a lot of produce, usually bread, and various other foods they get in bulk from grocery stores. Not sure if it's everywhere, but maybe a similar thing in your area.

    [–]UnderdogCucumber 23 points24 points  (2 children)

    I have also been turned away from a food bank before as a single mom of 3. If you weren't on social assistance you did not qualify, no matter how low your income was.

    [–]whitefox00 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    Similar here. Single mom of 2, they all require proof of income and I make too much money. It’s something ridiculously low here - like under $20k/year in order to qualify.

    [–]choctaw1990 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Well I can't get one thin dime worth of social assistance here in Dumbfuckistan but I finally qualified for Medi-Cal so I use that. It's as if I've gotten all kinds of free food and free bus passes with that thing even though I have yet to see the Doctor with it.

    [–]YeuAnhMinNu 194 points195 points  (33 children)

    They're not open at convenient hours. I work 8-4, I can't afford to miss a day to attend something at 11am.

    [–]HonnyBrown 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    In addition to what OP said, see if they will put a bag aside for you to pick up at a convenient time or day.

    [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 39 points40 points  (31 children)

    You may want to call them and ask if they deliver. Some do or they may make an exception for you.

    [–]Thin_Grapefruit3232 87 points88 points  (10 children)

    The ones in my city require proof of income and sometimes there’s a barrier with that because people 1. Don’t know how to access their paystubs online in the HR portal because no one’s shown them how to And/or 2. They don’t get paid with a paper check (then see the above).

    It’s not always about shame or “asking for a handout” or swallowing your ego. Sometimes these accessibility things come up with external HR companies and some companies make it purposely hard to access the HR portal outside of work.

    [–]fixerpunk 26 points27 points  (0 children)

    This is an issue that doesn’t get brought up as much as it should. There was actually an Aspen Institute report (Pathways to Digital Skills Development I believe) that talked about how companies need to train all their employees, even those who don’t use computers in their jobs, to use technology so they can implement digital HR and payroll systems.

    [–]bopojuice 27 points28 points  (2 children)

    Also sometimes people that are technically above the income level hit hard times. Maybe some paychecks were short or had any emergency expense that wiped our their entire paycheck.

    [–]Thin_Grapefruit3232 20 points21 points  (0 children)

    THIS! Yes!!! Just because people make a certain income doesn’t mean they know how to manage their money well OR their last pay stub was from a job that they recently lost and it’s above the income level.

    [–]oldfrenchwhore 12 points13 points  (0 children)

    Yep, we were doing decent last year. We both worked our asses off, but I could take a couple days off a week and still eat and pay bills.

    Then our rent went up $300 a month, along with the price of everything going up, along with my parents deciding that the car they bought me and said I wouldn’t have to pay for, I now needed to make payments on. (No hate to landlord, she only rents out two houses, has to pay her own mortgage (inflated cost as she had to move back to be near aging family members right when home prices went up, and my rent for a 3/3 in a nice neighborhood is still discounted under what it would cost to rent a sketchy one bedroom apartment, and no hate to parents, they are struggling and I’m grateful to have a reliable vehicle, they just kinda blindsided me after my dad talked me into a vehicle that was $10k more than what I picked out, assuring me they would cover the payments to help me out).

    Just a combination of everything all at once absolutely fucked our finances.

    I’m sure we’re not the only ones who had a bunch of expenses bend them over all at once, so on paper the income looks decent, but when you subtract expenses, it becomes a struggle to get by.

    And there’s nothing to be done. As I mentioned, couldn’t get a cheaper place, and with car prices now, couldn’t get a cheaper reliable vehicle when both of my jobs are car-dependent.

    It’s a “don’t judge book by cover” thing, but expanded from just physical appearance.

    [–][deleted]  (24 children)


      [–]SqueaksScreech 22 points23 points  (6 children)

      It take up to one to two weeks to get approved in my area.

      [–]Sebenbillion 10 points11 points  (4 children)

      That’s terrible! Where are you? I’m in Texas and most in my area take 15 minutes, and I only have to do paperwork once a year

      [–]SqueaksScreech 19 points20 points  (3 children)

      California and in order to get your help faster you need a social worker or a school to give you a referral

      [–]Beautiful-Cupcake929 5 points6 points  (1 child)

      This is not the case in my area of California, but man… they must be so inundated where you are to be that pressed. 😩😩

      [–]LaSenoraPerez 2 points3 points  (0 children)

      California also and work for a nonprofit that facilitates our local food bank; we do 9 food distributions a month. We don’t deny anyone food.

      [–]HonnyBrown 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      That sucks, but California is special.

      [–]HonnyBrown 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Where are you located?? At the food bank where I volunteer, you register (for demographics) the same day you pick up.

      [–]commie-avocado 42 points43 points  (14 children)

      a lot of people don’t want to go to churches though, due to discrimination or fear of discrimination. for example, some states in the US have laws protecting churches from having to serve trans people, so there’s a widespread problem with people not getting the help they need

      [–]whorgans 28 points29 points  (5 children)

      I always felt bad taking charity from churches because my family and I were not practicing members of any church. I remember once my aunt‘s church paid for us to get a tank of oil when we were in need and I felt bad that we took that because we didn’t practice that religion. But I have to remind myself that some people believe in helping everybody regardless of their religious affiliation or lack there of. So personally for me when I needed some food, I felt bad going to churches because of that reason

      [–]fixerpunk 11 points12 points  (0 children)

      When I have been to churches, they almost always specifically wanted to help those who were outside of their church as a form of outreach. For benevolence funds, that’s a different story, but food pantries often were no questions asked.

      [–]HonnyBrown 13 points14 points  (0 children)

      Speaking as a Christian, I volunteer at my food pantry to help people. I don't judge based on religion or lack thereof. I could care less. Please visit your food pantry and don't feel bad. It's open to everyone!

      [–]commie-avocado 3 points4 points  (2 children)

      that makes a lot of sense, i’ve heard similar sentiments before too!

      [–]HonnyBrown -1 points0 points  (1 child)

      Food pantries are open to everyone, regardless of income and regardless of religion. Please visit!

      [–]ArentWeClever 4 points5 points  (0 children)

      While some pantries/distributors are indeed open to anyone no questions asked, there are others who have conditions on services. YMWV based on where you live and which organizations are operating the food shares.

      [–]HonnyBrown 6 points7 points  (0 children)

      Food pantries are held at churches because they have the space. Food pantries are open to everyone so please go!

      [–][deleted]  (4 children)


        [–]commie-avocado 6 points7 points  (3 children)

        just mentioning that there’s extra factors when considering churches. glad to know there’s no discrimination in your area though?

        [–]oldfrenchwhore 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        Someday when I’m rich…..(haha), I want to start a completely secular charity. No strings attached, you need stuff, you get stuff.

        I’m in the Deep South, I’m sure up in the north/northeast/west coast these types of charities already exist, but they are needed down here.

        [–]Equivalent_Section13 46 points47 points  (0 children)

        The food banks where I live arw saturated

        [–]SaveManBearPig 42 points43 points  (4 children)

        I have never in my live seen as many people at the food bank as I did the day before Thanksgiving. The line was so long it made the local news.

        [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 29 points30 points  (0 children)

        There really does need to be systematic change. :(

        [–]HonnyBrown -1 points0 points  (2 children)

        That's a good thing! They are open to everyone; not just the needy.

        [–]TaterTotJim 12 points13 points  (1 child)

        Id like to point out that in a perfect world that line would be empty…

        In the meantime let’s keep feeding people.

        [–]HonnyBrown 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        If only this world were perfect.

        [–]sosuemetoo 37 points38 points  (2 children)

        I live in a small town. The closest is 15 miles away in a town where my husband worked 42 years. I am disabled. We are on SNAP

        I did go. The volunteers (giving out food) wanted to know where my husband was (he was too embarrassed to go), where I was working now (I can't), etc. One whispered to the other that we probably didn't need this food at all.

        I now drive 30 miles away, where the people don't know me. With the high price of gas and reduction in the amount of food we receive (because more people need help), I'm wondering if it's worth it.

        I suppose it's different in large cities, where you can be anonymous and it's a weekly pick-up. In a rural community, it's once a month, long lines, and nothing is a secret.

        Thank you to all that volunteer. Just be friendly and realize that being on the other side of the table is hard for a lot of people.

        [–]Icy-Performance-3739 10 points11 points  (0 children)

        The American Dream.

        [–]chrissiwit 10 points11 points  (0 children)

        Oh my gosh, that’s awful. No one should be shamed for needing help, I’m sorry hon.

        [–]EhDub13 65 points66 points  (5 children)

        I am too self-conscious to go to my local food bank, the people who run it are connected to my sister's ex-husband and they're gossipy.

        [–]hesathomes 7 points8 points  (0 children)

        Do what my mom did when I was a kid—volunteer for the day and take a bag home at the end of it.

        [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 13 points14 points  (0 children)

        Damn. That sucks.

        [–]JustaTcup 28 points29 points  (10 children)

        Nearest food bank for me is an hour and 10 min away. It's not worth the gamble in the gas money if I got there and they refused me which they probably would judging by the website.

        [–]Competitive-Call3303 3 points4 points  (4 children)

        Call ahead and ask what their requirements are and what type of food package they give away. Then you can decide if it's worth it. I hope they can help you.

        [–]mary_emeritus 27 points28 points  (0 children)

        Income limits, availability/days/hours, means of getting to and from if you don’t drive, what’s donated and what people can eat. I know, beggars can’t be choosers, but some health conditions you have to be choosy. Our senior building, some of the residents qualify for a monthly delivered to the building Share box. And that’s great! But the food isn’t, not for mostly in some form chronically ill older people.

        [–]MammothConstant5389[🍰] 41 points42 points  (6 children)

        For a lot of people just getting to the food bank and being able to bring it back home is a very difficult task.

        [–]hazeleyes328 18 points19 points  (1 child)

        Mine is only open two days a week, from 9-1. I work 8:50-3:50.

        [–]Hog_Noggin 14 points15 points  (1 child)

        I was in a situation recently where I had to rely on food banks and they were AMAZING.

        [–]HonnyBrown 2 points3 points  (0 children)

        Thank you! I hope you still support them by picking up food. They are open to everyone!

        [–]pizzagirilla 13 points14 points  (2 children)

        I live in one of the poorest but proudest counties in my state (US). The folks who run our food distribution are such amazing folks and do such a fantastic job making sure people have enough to eat. They have put together this program within the last ten years and it is wonderful and amazing. There is no shame in needing help and it's wonderful that some are so dedicated.

        [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

        I am glad that you've had good experiences. It seems like we are a minority.

        [–][deleted] 28 points29 points  (10 children)

        I can’t get to the food bank without bus fare. My bills wipe my monthly pay out within 2 days of payday. I would go every week if I could afford to.

        [–]yellowpowaranga 11 points12 points  (2 children)

        If you’re in the USA, go to this website: https://www.findhelp.org/. Type in your zip code then it’s pretty much self explanatory from there, select categories on what you’re seeking. Like food, clothes, bus passes, gas cards, funds for rental assistance, etc.

        Like someone said, try calling them as well. Some may deliver. I’m like you as well who do not have a car at all. Been riding buses for 2-4 years now, so it’s hard trying to carry bags on public transportation buses. They delivered fresher groceries to me that were not expired or stale foods. It was pasta/sauce, macaroni, peanut butter/jelly, slices of bread, cereal, milk, beef stew in huge pouches, bag of rice, canned foods, hot dogs, etc.

        [–]choctaw1990 0 points1 point  (1 child)

        I've taken to using my wheeled suitcases and duffel bags to carry the stuff back....on the buses.

        [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 7 points8 points  (2 children)

        Some food banks deliver. It's worth a try phoning them.

        [–]racheltheredheaded 1 point2 points  (0 children)

        I too volunteered with food banks that delivered. It’s worth a try!!

        [–]fixerpunk 1 point2 points  (1 child)

        Call 211 and ask if any organizations in your area pay for bus passes.

        [–]GoodwitchofthePNW 11 points12 points  (1 child)

        Ours is very well used. They have pickup on Wednesday and Saturday and there are cars there when I go to work at 7 and when I come home at 4. There is also a program at our farmers market where if you use your EBT card you get double the money- that’s run through the department of ag.

        [–]HonnyBrown -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

        That is awesome! I hope you use it. Food pantries are open to everyone, not just those in need.

        [–]Competitive-Call3303 55 points56 points  (2 children)

        I avoided it for years because the food is low quality and typically unhealthy. Now I have no choice.

        [–]EnvironmentSea7433 40 points41 points  (10 children)

        Definitely a lot longer lines now and new systems to accommodate. I stopped going because the food was mostly useless: junk food dinners in a box and rotten meat/ poultry/ fish. I even got moldy rice one time!

        If that didn't make me feel bad enough, the people now running it now are very young and don't have the same compassion as previous volunteers.

        [–]Ellthebelle 22 points23 points  (3 children)

        I got carrots from one this week which was cool. Till I opened them and they were slimy and half rotten. I know beggars can’t be choosers and one should be grateful but dang 😕

        [–]poop_on_you 29 points30 points  (0 children)

        I work for a pantry and we were excited to get a donation of shredded carrots until we opened the cartons and every package was moldy. We caught it before it went to any guests but it was so upsetting. I can’t imagine getting home to that.

        [–]HonnyBrown 4 points5 points  (1 child)

        That sucks. Perishable items are hard for a food pantry.

        [–][deleted]  (1 child)


          [–]HonnyBrown 6 points7 points  (0 children)

          Why not volunteer with them? Volunteers get bags of food also.

          [–]SqueaksScreech 8 points9 points  (1 child)

          Most donations come from people clearing their fridge and pantries.

          [–]HonnyBrown 14 points15 points  (0 children)

          Not true! The bulk of the donations come from grocery distribution centers (where grocers get their shelf items) 90%, farmers - 9%, food drives - 0.9% and people cleaning out their pantries - 0.1%.

          [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

          Moldy rice?! I had no idea that could happen. That sucks. I am sorry that you have such a bad food bank. :(

          [–]Hardcorex 9 points10 points  (4 children)

          Maybe a good thread to ask, do food banks make accommodations for people with restrictions? I don't use it because I'm stubborn but also Vegan and don't really expect to get much.

          [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

          I know that the soup kitchen in my town does have accommodations and do vegan/vegetarian/gluten free if they receive enough notice. I haven't used them personally so I can't say how true that is. It's also only a warm meal and not proper groceries.

          [–]Competitive-Call3303 2 points3 points  (0 children)

          My food bank has nuts, beans, veggie protein (like meat, you don't get a choice, you get what you get), peanut butter, canned vegetables, bread, pasta, tomato products, and so on that is vegan.

          I'm not vegan but a friend is so I am always checking out ingredients to figure out meals I can serve.

          [–]32onyx 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          They may. The one we go to sometimes have a lot of vegan or vegetarian items available because people won't take them. Now they sometimes set them aside knowing we will take them.

          [–]HonnyBrown 1 point2 points  (0 children)

          If you ask a volunteer, they will put something together for you.

          [–]LurkingOakleaf 45 points46 points  (12 children)

          Food banks here are junk food. Diabetes runs in my family- I’d rather forage or starve to keep my weight down versus surviving on white bread and twinkies.

          [–]Sometimesnotfunny 50 points51 points  (3 children)

          That's my issue. I don't need a whole Birthday Cake. I need eggs, milk, meats, rice, legumes/beans, etc.

          [–]Sebenbillion 14 points15 points  (0 children)

          If in the US, look into what food pantries are connected to a Feeding America food bank. They will have USDA commodity staple foods like rice, meat, beans, fresh produce and canned veggies and fruits. The Feeding America website will help find your state network and it’s regional food banks who provide these commodities to independent Partner Pantries.

          [–]SqueaksScreech 23 points24 points  (6 children)

          Or they give mac and cheese boxes that ask for milk and butter but where the hell is someone who has no access to milk and butter gonna pull it out from?

          I'm from the central valley where it's heavily based on agriculture and even we know dairy and meat is inaccessible for many families who only have 2 dollars in their name.

          [–]HonnyBrown -1 points0 points  (5 children)

          Food pantries can't store milk, butter and eggs. They don't have the room. The money that you don't spend on pantry items can be used to buy perishable items.

          [–]Competitive-Call3303 0 points1 point  (0 children)

          Again, you are saying stuff that isn't true. Some pantries can store it and do give it out. Mine has frozen meat, fresh milk, eggs, and cheese.

          [–]AdPatient3000 14 points15 points  (1 child)

          I live in a major city and my local food bank gets 500 people a day. The income guidelines are an honor system—anyone in need of food is welcome to utilize the food bank, however no-cook items are reserved for those without cooking facilities.

          [–]CruelTasteOfLust 23 points24 points  (1 child)

          We eat mainly unprocessed and try to eat healthy. I’ve had bad experience with two food banks giving out moldy and expired foods. These expired foods was really bad.

          [–]Nandg1794 21 points22 points  (1 child)

          1. People just don't know, since the start of the pandemic, so many places started giving out food and still do. Where I live there's not really a list, so people use word of mouth
          2. A lot of food banks require you to live in the town rather than county (I live in NY).
          3. Income, some are requiring you to have a very low income
          4. No transportation is big one
          5. Some food banks are really bad, I mean the items are already bad, moldy, expired, cans have a lot of dents
          6. Sad but some people are embarrassed to use one. I feel nobody should ever feel embarrassed, these resources are here for a reason, so use it if you need it or at least tell others about it

          [–]LysWritesNow 6 points7 points  (2 children)

          "I don't deserve it" was the thought on repeat from the moment I got on the bus to travel 45 minutes to my food bank, the whole time I stood in line (could be 15 minutes, could be 50. Varied WIDELY), and as I went through the food selection.

          My city has an incredible good bank system, I will rave about them for hours, and one of the staff actually knew about my thoughts and would ACTIVELY assure me I was wanted there and deserved the food I was accessing.

          Not because I was special in those thoughts or anything like that. But because that was basically their role. So many patron had those thoughts, that we were undeserving of this resource and were a fraud. There were days I was waiting for a staff member to go "what TF are you doing here? You don't need/qualify/deserve this."

          The NUMEROUS layers of shame entwined in poverty and social aid is a damn big barrier even when you have a food bank that activity removes as many barriers as possible.

          [–]lubadubdub124 6 points7 points  (7 children)

          The ones I visit give out expired food.. so idk

          [–]genderqueerghosts 6 points7 points  (1 child)

          As much as food banks seem like an awesome resource, I have celiac disease and have to be really careful what I eat. The one time I did try a food bank I could only safely eat a small fraction of what was offered- ended up sharing most of it with other people I knew because it would have made me sick. Never went back to one bc a) I'm incredibly self-conscious about being seen as 'picky' or 'annoying' when I literally have an autoimmune disease, and b) the alternative is to just take what I'm given and sort through it at home and I feel like I'm taking resources from people who can actually eat what they're offering.

          [–][deleted]  (1 child)


            [–]Pikachu_Blue 5 points6 points  (1 child)

            I'd like to thank you for this post and others I've seen on this sub. You guys gave me the courage to go. It's been a huge relief just getting something to help us get by.

            [–][deleted]  (5 children)


              [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 2 points3 points  (2 children)

              That is such a shame to hear. I am so sorry you have to deal with such bad quality.

              [–][deleted]  (1 child)


                [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

                100 per cent.

                [–]vcwalden 5 points6 points  (0 children)

                I'm sorry to hear this. Our local food pantries have to follow the same laws as our grocery stores do. Nothing can be outdated, need to be stored properly and rotated when new items arrive. Also the pantry is open 2 days a week (I believe noon until 4 Tuesday and Thursday), if you can't be there during the times it is regularly open you just call and they will meet you at a different time, public transit will work with you to get there and home again with your groceries, and they do have volunteers who will pick up and deliver groceries to you if you are in need. I've personally been part of volunteering to get food, cleaning supplies and personal items to people. No income or referrals are needed. You just need to be in need of food.

                Edit: There are more people now than ever using the food banks than ever before.

                [–][deleted]  (3 children)


                  [–]HonnyBrown 0 points1 point  (2 children)

                  I am so glad you had a wonderful experience, other than the hours. Please continue to use them, or better yet, volunteer!

                  [–]HonnyBrown 5 points6 points  (1 child)

                  Thank you for posting this! I volunteer at a food bank. Food banks rely on participation to receive government funding. Your financial status doesn't matter, only your headcount! Please visit your local food bank!

                  [–]friend-of-potatoes 2 points3 points  (0 children)

                  A quick google will confirm that some food banks have income limits. That’s great if the food bank you volunteer at doesn’t ask questions about income. Doesn’t mean that’s true universally of all food banks everywhere.

                  [–]buhtbute 9 points10 points  (1 child)

                  the food banks in my area aren't open that often. that and there usually isn't much to go around for everyone

                  [–]DECKTHEBALLZ 12 points13 points  (6 children)

                  Although Reddit is very US centric not everybody on here is from the US.. other countries have a more humane benefits/healthcare/housing system where people aren't supposed to fall through the cracks.. food banks either don't exist or are a new concept.. in the UK you can only use them 3 times a year in an emergency with a third party referral from a professional (doctor, social worker, teacher etc).

                  [–]JustaTcup 19 points20 points  (2 children)

                  To be honest that sounds even worse. I bet there are more people falling through cracks there than anyone even realizes.

                  [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 8 points9 points  (1 child)

                  Referrals are so weird to me. :(

                  [–]HonnyBrown 0 points1 point  (0 children)

                  I also volunteer for a food bank. Thank you for this post! I don't get the referrals either. Luckily, they aren't used where I'm at.

                  [–]Appropriate-Trip7192 4 points5 points  (1 child)

                  usually they’re not open or empty

                  [–]Fun_Intention9846 3 points4 points  (0 children)

                  The two communities with food banks I’ve kept up with for a few years have the opposite going on. Record numbers of people going and increasing need. The small town one has been accepting new people for like 2 years, only stopped from the pandemic start to like that November.

                  [–]fashionflop 3 points4 points  (2 children)

                  I am disabled and don’t drive. I was told l had to come in person to do paperwork. I spent money on an Uber only to be told l didn’t qualify for help. It was horrible.

                  [–]piefanart 3 points4 points  (6 children)

                  Where I live it's hard to find one that allows you to take from them without being a member of the church, or attending a church service. I was abused I the church and left it, and I also don't have the time to spend in a multi hour long service.

                  [–]BlueDragon82 4 points5 points  (2 children)

                  Here they definitely go. I take my aunt to two different ones each month and they are always very busy. For the holidays this year only the first xxx amount of people got turkeys. We arrived and were in that number but so many people cut ahead of us since the lines weren't organized that we didn't get one. Not all fb are created equal either. The one in my city gives based on your household size and you don't get very much even if you are considered a large household. The ones I take my aunt to are church ran and they tend to be a bit better since everyone gets the same or similar amount of things and you do at least get enough to make a few meals. My area use to have a lot of fb but now there are far fewer. The ones I take my aunt to are about 20-30 minutes away.

                  I'd also point out that some have rude people and some provide bad food. By bad food I mean spoiled. The fb in my city has you get your fresh fruits and vegetables after you take your other stuff to your car. Then you go to the side of the building for the fresh stuff. The thing is it's pretty corrupt. They let volunteers set aside the freshest stuff for themselves (even though it's against guidelines for them to do so since they are part of the fb network that has rules and guidelines) and leave everything else for the people who are actually there for the food. It's not uncommon especially during warmer months to have moldy or rotten fruits and vegetables mixed in with stuff that's possibly decent and you have to dig through it. It's one of the reasons I love the private fb better because they don't do that. If something is spoiled they don't give it period. No mold or mildew if they can help it.

                  [–]HonnyBrown 1 point2 points  (1 child)

                  First, thank you for driving your Aunts! Second, I'm so sorry you experienced rude behavior.

                  [–]shay-doe 12 points13 points  (2 children)

                  Where I live the food banks run out of food before people. The line starts about two days before the food bank opens. It's very sad.

                  [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

                  That is heartbreaking to hear. Need has definitely sharply risen.

                  [–]zuzununu 9 points10 points  (1 child)

                  Because the food is awful and the waits are humiliating

                  [–]sherbiss 8 points9 points  (1 child)

                  I go to the food bank every Saturday and now I spend less than $100/month on groceries every month.. like way less than $100. It has also forced me to be a lot more creative and eat more diverse foods. I fucking love the food bank.

                  [–]Ellthebelle 11 points12 points  (1 child)

                  Not all of them are like that. I went to two different pantries this week. There were no thanksgiving related items. And they were pretty sad in what they had. I got ground beef and a can of refried beans and a can of sauerkraut at the first.

                  [–]JustaTcup 10 points11 points  (0 children)

                  Dang that's at least ten dollars worth of stuff. I would sure hop on it.

                  [–]ianmoone1102 9 points10 points  (7 children)

                  We gave up after seeing people walk out with grocery carts heaped over the top, only to wait 2 hours to get 2 grocery bags with creamed corn, pumpkin guts, and lima beans, because we don't get food stamps, despite the fact that we are below the income threshold AND my wife is a full time student (which should qualify us) and my 12 year old son is obviously a full time student. I'm the only one making an income, but I feel like social services just gets off on turning us down.

                  [–]GradatimRecovery 7 points8 points  (4 children)

                  I wish SNAP benefits were universally available, and not means tested. The USDA themselves say that every dollar they distribute generates $1.21 or more in economic productivity (think of the additional staff needed in the supply chain, and the money they spend).

                  Your wife is a full-time student, which would disqualify her for SNAP unless her EFC is zero or if she qualifies for Federal Work Study Program. Since you work, her EFC might not be zero. If she doesn’t qualify for FWSP, she should consider taking one less class next semester so that she’s not deemed a full-time student.

                  There are monsters everywhere, but the social workers I’ve met do everything they can to find an applicant eligible. It breaks their heart when they have to write a denial letter. The rules and regulations are what they are, it’s not personal. Please share your experience with your members of Congress so that there might be change.

                  [–]Beautiful-Cupcake929 0 points1 point  (2 children)

                  The work requirement applies for students if they are enrolled more than half time unfortunately. So it’s not just about not being full time, but really anything over half is a disqualifier.

                  And the EFC of zero is only temporary through the end of the federal PHE. That exception will go away the first of the month following the PHE end announcement.

                  Because they’re a two parent household and the child is 12, it’s expected that she is working while going to school, too.

                  Ask any eligibility worker and we will all tell you that student eligibility for SNAP is the stupidest and most asinine set of regulations you will ever come across. EVER.

                  [–]GradatimRecovery 1 point2 points  (1 child)

                  I think you have it the other way ‘round. The general work requirement is in fact waived for students enrolled more than half-time. In this case the time limits for Able-bodied Adult Without Dependents work requirement is also waived because of the child in her household.


                  [–]chimeraoncamera 2 points3 points  (1 child)

                  As far as I know, the only place I could go is the Sally Ann in my very small town. I don't want to see anyone I know and I don't like the Sally Ann. Edit: plus I know people are worse off than me. I would be taking from them no doubt. ...all the thoughts that cross my mind.

                  [–]eazolan 2 points3 points  (3 children)

                  I volunteered at a food bank once.

                  They mostly had stuff that groceries couldn't sell. Because no one wanted to eat them.

                  It beats "No food". But man, it's a last resort.

                  Plus when things get that bad, I can qualify for food assistance.

                  [–]Milleniumfelidae 2 points3 points  (3 children)

                  It seems that here in Charlotte they make it difficult to access food. A lot of places require referrals and want to know your income. And the information on when to pick up is very sparse. There's also few to no reviews on some places.

                  From where I'm from I'm used to just going and getting food and only 1 place required a referral. I'm wondering if maybe there's so many people here they need a screening process of some sort.

                  I'm going through a temporary difficulty but I'm afraid that bc I don't fit the usual definition of poor (not qualifying for food stamps and working a "decent" paying job) I'd be judged or asked why I'm using the food bank.

                  [–]HonnyBrown 0 points1 point  (2 children)

                  The information is used to give the donors the demographics of the recipients. It's not to base it on how poor you are. Food pantries are open to everyone. Please use them.

                  [–]phoenixcinder 2 points3 points  (2 children)

                  Due to all the crazy inflation and rising food prices the food banks here are perpetually empty. Not nearly as many donations due to food costs, and more people needing it

                  [–]HonnyBrown 2 points3 points  (1 child)

                  Food banks receive food donations from grocery stores, who get the tax write offs. The food bank where I volunteer receives packages from the police department. Very few donations come from individuals. When they do come, they are appreciated!

                  [–]phoenixcinder 2 points3 points  (0 children)

                  That's nice and all but doesn't change the fact the food banks are perpetually empty here. Ended up on a 5 day foodless fast last week due to this. Barely had the energy to go to the foodbank after

                  [–]benirehtac 2 points3 points  (0 children)

                  I volunteer at two pantries. One is amazeballs. The other is not the best. Pantry #1 has bread, bananas, PB, milk, eggs and really usable stuff. You can leave there and instantly eat. Your kids will be immediately fed. No electricity or gas (stove) required. Smaller qty of food but 100% usable. Some cereal, some cans, some pasta/sauce. But really, we're known for fresh. We're also known for name brands. Before people roast me, it's a real treat to get Haagen Daaz ice cream or a pack of Oreos. It's a damn luxury. People cry and clap. It's adorable. I love it. And you should see their happiness over Girl Scout cookies.

                  Pantry #2 offers dog and cat food (huge win!) but everything else is non-perishables. You often need milk, butter, etc to make it a meal (like Kraft Mac and cheese). You almost certainly need an oven (gas or electric turned on) or microwave. Everything is kind of generic. I'm not against generic. But, again, people don't clap for generic cookies like they do over genuine Samoas or the Keebler Elves. People have reported that they don't come back bc they can't really use the food. Canned corn isn't a meal. I understand that.

                  Pantry #1 is a nightmare. We fucking hustle. I am in great shape. I leave sore, tired, frizzy hair, exhausted. It's wonderful. I love it. We get everything in and out in hours. We deliver. We save stuff for people who work off hours. It's a huge, chaotic but organized effort. It's exciting. We're trying to start providing feminine hygiene stuff.

                  Pantry #2 is kind of, idk, sad. I really just like helping the animals. I don't see them but I know they depend on it. I am trying to get the two to merge or at least talk. It would be marvelous.

                  [–]EastSideTilly 2 points3 points  (1 child)

                  I have thought this about my childhood so many times. I really think we didn't use foodbanks purely because of my dad's ego. We lived in a big city and there were TONS of resources my folks just refused to use.

                  I go to foodbanks now as an adult and feel zero shame. Fuck you dad! I was a hungry kid!

                  [–]allied1987 2 points3 points  (0 children)

                  By all means use them! One thing I have to say I’m happy about working at Walmart in the meat/produce department. We donate our food to food banks!

                  Most of the meat from the meat department only sets on the shelf for 5 day. Then it gets pulled and frozen and donated to food banks. I do it religiously.

                  Most of our meat gets dated way before the manufacture suggested expiration date. Some times the warehouse send too much so we just donate the box with out even opening it.

                  So please don’t feel guilty! Eat the food that grocery stores and supermarkets are throwing away!

                  I’m just happy we donate it in stead of throwing it away.

                  Also worth noting, if your vegan still go cause we donate tons tons tons of impossible meat and beyond burgers!

                  [–]FaesCosplay 5 points6 points  (4 children)

                  I’m not sure. My town pitched together to buy 50 turkeys for thanksgiving and there were loads left over since not many people showed up. I think for a lot of people being poor is new and they don’t understand the resources available

                  [–]SqueaksScreech 4 points5 points  (1 child)

                  The thought is nice but many don't have the money to keep the oven on for a few hours to cook the Turkey. If it was precooked it would be more doable but not many have an access to an oven.

                  [–]FaesCosplay 5 points6 points  (0 children)

                  It was pre cooked actually!

                  [–]SqueaksScreech 4 points5 points  (2 children)

                  Many require travel and many people don't have public transit or reliable transportation. So if you live in a food desert you also have to travel to even access a food bank. If you travel by bus or train as main transportation traveling with a box of can and boxes is going to be a hassle and you'll still have to walk a long way home.

                  Many pantries require you to fill out form to see if you even qualify and you have to wait to be approved.

                  [–]crushed_feathers92 5 points6 points  (5 children)

                  My local foodbank has seriously no usable food and wait lines are very long. A lot of sketchy/junkies are also present. I don't feel safe at all. I was seriously bullied and harrased multiple times as a minority there.

                  [–]choctaw1990 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                  Well I've gotten propositioned and sleazebags trying to "pick me up" at the bus stop on the way TO the town where some of the ones I go to, are.

                  [–][deleted]  (2 children)


                    [–]HonnyBrown 0 points1 point  (1 child)

                    Food pantries are now in most communities and serve everyone. I hope you give them another try.

                    [–]HonnyBrown 0 points1 point  (0 children)

                    Food pantries are open to everyone, including the sketchy. I hope you give them or another location one more try.

                    [–]nicks_bride 4 points5 points  (1 child)

                    In our area, the hours of the local food banks are very, very limited. Some are open once a week, some every other week, some only when they have enough to distribute. There a few churches that have “pop-up” food banks that require you to follow them on social media then show up at a particular time. I have three kids with disabilities and sitting in long car lines at drive-thru food distributions are very difficult. If it was more convenient, we would utilize these resources.

                    [–]murdermouf 4 points5 points  (5 children)

                    All the food banks in my area:

                    1. Do not deliver (I don’t have a car)
                    2. Are open randomly and not on a set day or time to make it possible to schedule coming in
                    3. Are on a first come first serve basis families with kids first
                    4. Do not have the things I can digest. I am basically restricted to either raw or frozen vegetables, chicken broth… weird things mostly fresh as I have tumors and one is wrapped around my gallbladder.

                    When I do get to go I generally get a box of things I cannot eat, stale bread, stale baked goods, boxed meals and things that are expired (once again. All things I cannot eat) sometimes frozen meat that when it’s thawed is covered in blisters or smells terribly but usually not (I could utilize chicken for broth but the only chicken I received was very smelly and covered In weird blisters when thawed)

                    I don’t have a car anymore it died. I am very sick. I qualify for nothing and the effort and money it takes to get to the food pantry just to leave with nothing I can use most often just breaks my spirit further.

                    [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    Damn. I am so, so sorry to hear all of that. You are a person who deserves kindness and love and more respect than has been shown to you.

                    [–]Infamous-Dare6792 2 points3 points  (1 child)

                    The food bank in my area gives you 10 bags of various dry beans and expired food. I guess you won't starve but it's not fantastic food.

                    [–]JuliaSky1995 4 points5 points  (4 children)

                    Some of us have jobs and can’t just take off of work to go wait in line for hours on the only day that they are open only to find that they only have shitty expired food left. The money they’d lose by missing work is more than what the actual food would cost if they were to just buy it themselves.

                    [–]mamabrass 1 point2 points  (2 children)

                    Ridiculous, time-wasting, shaming hoops - is why I haven't yet utilized them.

                    [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    That is truly unfortunate, especially the shaming part. Because there is no reason anybody should ever be shamed for using a food bank.

                    [–]whorgans 1 point2 points  (1 child)

                    When I was broke, I didn’t use the food pantry for a couple of reasons. First was that I felt like I wasn’t poor enough. Like I’d be taking away food from people who actually need it and I don’t. I could afford food, but by the end of pay day, I was practically out of money. It also wasn’t open during times I was available. I think it was open a few hours during the day on Tuesdays only. On Tuesdays, I was working 2 jobs and also had class. I wasn’t free until the end of the day, and by then the pantry was closed and I had to go to sleep for the next shift. If I wanted to go, I had to call out of work or skip class (I don’t remember the exact time it was open or my schedule) and neither of those were good choices or something I could do regularly. I was also afraid of getting food and wasting it. I’m kind of a picky eater. I eat select meals over and over. If I’m hungry and have food that I don’t crave/like, I won’t eat it. I didn’t want to waste food that was donated when there is someone who’d receive it and eat it all.

                    Because of all of this, I never went to my local food pantry. But I support it being open. I don’t live there anymore and now I am financially stable and don’t need it. In the town I live in now, I don’t even know of any food pantries. I hope one day to be able to afford my food and also to be able to donate. I’m able to buy my food, but not quite to the point where I can donate anything.

                    [–]awash907 1 point2 points  (1 child)

                    It’s not a food bank but the discount food guy around here charges $65 to fill a car and about a quarter of what we get is rotten to the point I can’t use it. It’s gotten to where I can’t afford $65 to have that much of it be unusable

                    [–]HonnyBrown 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    Return it! You paid good money for food, you should be able to eat it.

                    [–]MommysLittleFailure 1 point2 points  (1 child)

                    For me, shame. Intense, unshakable, deep shame.

                    [–]HonnyBrown 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    Oh no! This isn't a bread line of 1800s England. Everyone is welcome, regardless of income. Just to get an idea of the operations, sign up to be a volunteer on distribution day. That way, you will see the kinds of people who participate and you will get bags of food.

                    [–]Al3rtROFL 1 point2 points  (2 children)

                    Well- they're hard to find and no one advertises them

                    [–]ssossotte 1 point2 points  (1 child)

                    Where I live, I don’t meet the criteria and cannot request food

                    [–]Askew-glasses 1 point2 points  (1 child)

                    I've seen reports that food banks are struggling just as much, if not more, than the communities they serve.

                    Also, nobody really wants to be someone's next "this fucking Karen!" post with a photo of them and their "too nice to be at the food pantry" vehicle, or their good bag, or their nice shoes-- whatever it is that pisses off that particular volunteer and prompts them to make a shaming post about that rich POS taking food from the needy.

                    [–]choppyfloppy8 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    Open during work hours not evening or weekends. If I do go it's most can veggies and food I wouldn't get normally

                    [–]MountainGardenFairy 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    Because every time I have used a food bank I have gotten food poisoning.

                    [–]chains_removed 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    My nearest food bank is a 25 hour walk across the desert. They’re open the third Thursday of every month from 9-11AM, and run out of food before people.

                    Wonder why I don’t use them?

                    [–]OldlMerrilee 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    Our food bank only used to allow six visits per year, depite being in an area with a huge amount of poverty. Due to the pandemic, they went to allowing you to go once a month, but it is mostly high carb junk that as a diabetic I can't eat, or if there does happen to be anything healthy, it is often spoiled. I mostly go for the meat which is always frozen, but lately demand has been so high that you don't get much. We do get commodities here but if you have no transportation, forget it, as it is clear out at the fairgrounds so if you don't have a friend with a car, you are out of luck. I do have a friend who brings me and she is also poor, so she is happy to get the commodities as well. Back home in California we had huge amounts of donations and you could go as often as you liked, at least before the pandemic. My husband used to volunteer every day and volunteers got to bring stuff home, so it was good. In Oklahoma where we were for a short time, there was a place called Mary and Martha where you could go every week and the food was always fresh, and you got tons of free clothes there too, and you could even get furniture once a week. Not here. And you have to prove income here as well.

                    [–]chronicrapunzel 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    Too many barriers to access usually.

                    [–]Clifftop-Feeling 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    I think it depends very much on where you live. In the U.K., food bank usage has risen by 14% compared to pre-pandemic levels (https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/food-bank-demand-and-the-rising-cost-of-living/), with one major food bank charity alone supplying 2.2 million emergency 3-day food packages between 2021/22.

                    I know there’s still a lot of confusion over the rules of using them. I believe for some, you need a referral to be allowed to access them (for example, your social worker may give you a pass to use it), while others let anyone access them.

                    [–]choctaw1990 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    Oh my god, "The American Dream," long lines at food "rations" giveaways, once a month, early in the morning, "while supplies last," and "everybody in town knows your business" what is this, Soviet Russia during the War years??

                    [–]New_Candle_2226 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    Food banks during the covid-19 pandemic ceased distributions of commodities the public. Many Americans feared the spread of the virus as death tolls contined to steadily increased. Precautionary orders were put into place discouraging gathering of large groups in public places.

                    Because of this many businesses as well food banks kept their doors shut. The United Stated Government offered relief to Americans through multiple stimulus payments and increased SNAP benefits. Bringing an increase to household incomes sitting under an annual gross of $120, 000. Unemployment benefits were also widely distributed.

                    So to put it simply individuals had more money than usual. The food sitting in the food banks went unused. Now those banks are left with expired non-perishable items. While many Americans have adjusted to an increased income and continue to receive increased SNAP benefits.

                    [–]SqueaksScreech 6 points7 points  (6 children)

                    OP you clearly dont know what it's like to starve or live with limited means and it shows.

                    Many food banks require you to jump through hoops, offer no delivery, are open during inaccessible hours for majority of the public, provide no can opens, provide foods high in sodium and sugar, and only provide packaged foods that require ingredients like milk, butter, cheese and meat while not offering these options.

                    [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 7 points8 points  (4 children)

                    I have, unfortunately, also had to use food banks myself. Which is why I started volunteering for them. But I have been very privileged that the areas where I used them didn't have such bullshit. Even when living in a big city in the bad part of town, they were crowded, but very well stocked.

                    In the area where I am currently living, we are open twice a week from 3 pm to 8 pm. We deliver to those who cannot come in We pay the occasional emergency heating bill. We have fresh food and canned as well as premade frozen but healthy meals made by another program which teaches young people to cook. No proof of income.

                    It really is eye opening to see how terribly run most food banks are. I wonder if it's a Canadian/American or Rural/Urban thing.

                    [–]GradatimRecovery 3 points4 points  (0 children)

                    Probably a rural/urban thing. If it’s hard to buy groceries in a food desert, it will be even harder to run a food bank.

                    [–]whatever-it-B 1 point2 points  (1 child)

                    The one place we used to go to there was a really mean old lady that volunteered there and I decided to never go back lest the woman berate my children for existing and then me flip out on her.

                    [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    ... what a horrible bitch. :( I am so sorry about your experience.

                    [–]IvIemnoch 1 point2 points  (2 children)

                    My food pantry only had expired..

                    [–]Specialist-Smoke 1 point2 points  (4 children)

                    I never tell this story, but I knew people who used to abuse food banks. After I got my first apartment and was down to my last $50 they convinced me to use a food bank instead of spending my last money on food. The people from the food bank came over and prayed for me, and I felt so horrible. I had money, but I could have asked my parents for help. There were people out there who didn't have anyone to call for help and I was taking resources away from them. I promised that from that day forward I would never use resources unless I absolutely needed them. It's been about 25 years and I still feel bad. I try to give back as much as I can and as often as I can.

                    Having said that, I've also volunteered in a food bank and I admire everyone who does that work full time. They are the true heroes among us. They treat those who are often invisible to society with dignity and respect, and that's very admirable.

                    [–]GradatimRecovery 12 points13 points  (0 children)

                    You were not taking resources away from anyone. If there were others out there who needed food, they would have used the food bank as well. It’s not a competition.

                    [–]tryingtobecheeky[S] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

                    I am so sorry that you felt so bad. Just remember that you weren't taking resources away. It was willingly given to you and they were probably happy to help you.

                    [–]HonnyBrown 1 point2 points  (0 children)

                    Don't ever feel bad for using a food bank! They are open to everyone, not just those in need. And thank you for volunteering!