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Leave the Cans at Home, Monetary Dontions Go Farther to Feed the Hungry

December 14, 2009

The NYTimes recently published an article with a new view on charity to anti-hunger organizations: money can go farther than cans. As great as it feels to drop a few cans into a bin covered in wrapping paper, giving money–even just a few dollars–is more helpful to food pantries.

Donated money allows pantries and kitchens to buy wholesale food for a cheaper price than you’d see at a grocery store.

At the Food Bank, $50 could buy 200 boxes of cereal, Pastor Kansfield explained, as opposed to perhaps the 10 that donors to food drives could get for that much. She is moved by the generosity, the can-do impulse that propels local food drives, but is overwhelmed, as would be most small nonprofits, by the logistics.

Donated money also allows pantries and kitchens to buy much needed non-food supplies such as rubber gloves or garbage bags.  These types of items are often not covered by many of the grants available to emergency food providers, yet without them pantries and kitchens wouldn’t be able to do their work.

Joel Berg also urges people to give money instead of canned food.  He points out that it’s not just food pantries that are fighting hunger.

Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, also encourages people to give money, not cans — and not just to organizations that distribute food, but to those that do outreach to enroll people who qualify for food stamps, or to those that advocate more aggressively at the policy level to solve the problem of hunger.

To make more of a difference, leave the cans on the shelf and instead donate that money.

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