dollar bill on a plate with knife and fork to help describe food vs monetary donations

Helping your local food bank is vital to the working poor in your community. While you may want to hold a food drive to fill up the shelves of the food bank, you may want to consider a fund drives instead. Local food banks appreciate food donations, but when it comes to feeding the poor, monetary donations are essential. Boxes of mismatched canned goods vs. cash in hand make a big difference to the food bank. Food has to be sorted, carried and stored, while money can be used to buy the supplies the food bank needs the most.


People Need Fresh Food Too

Canned food is a food pantry staple because of its durability and long shelf life but it only comprises a portion of the food people eat. Money that is donated can go toward buying real fresh food like meat, produce, dairy and bread. Canned food tends to be higher in sodium and lower in nutrients than fresh food and may also contain BPA and other chemicals. So, donating money instead of cans to your local food bank can help improve the health of people in your community.


Cash is Easy to Organize

With monetary donations, they can be used for just about anything the food bank needs. It’s easy to take donations and put the money in the bank to be used to pay for food or supplies. In fact, many food banks take monetary donations online, without any actual money ever changing hands. Even though you may want to give actual goods to a food bank, your money is going to go further. In addition, donating money is easier for you. You don’t have to buy extra food the next time you go shopping or transport the goods to your local food bank.


The Food Bank Can Buy Food Much Cheaper

Food banks are able to buy food at wholesale prices, cheaper than you are going to be able to buy food on sale. Your money is going to supply more food for people in need when you donate to a food bank, and allow the food bank to buy what is needed to stock the shelves. Your donation is going to do more for the food bank than a donation of canned goods. According to Slate, “economically speaking, it’s totally insane…having 100 different people go out and pay retail prices for a few cans of green beans is extraordinarily inefficient relative to pooling those funds to buy the beans in bulk.”


There’s No Overhead Costs to Cash Donations

Canned foods need to be organized, sorted, and some even thrown out because they are not viable for the food pantry. This creates the need for a number of volunteers and paid staff, as well as the space to store canned goods that won’t fit on the shelves. It can be a nightmare to try and organize a bunch of canned good donations that arrive all at one time.



Canned Good Donations are Random

Unfortunately, quite a bit of food donated to food banks can wind up going uneaten. This is often do to the fact that the donations are so random, it’s hard for the food bank and those using the food bank as a source for nutrition to make meals out of the goods donated. You don’t simply go to the grocery store and place a bunch of random goods in your cart, yet this may be the only way to get food from a food bank when donations are random. Close to 50% of the food can go uneaten when the donations are in canned goods and not monetary.
If you want to help fight hunger in your community, it’s time to make a donation to Community Action Services and Food Bank. Your money will be used to buy the food and goods people in your community need and will make a direct impact in your area.