How to Donate Food or Volunteer at a Food Bank

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In this Oct. 8, 2013 photo, David, 6, whose family receives money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eats dinner in Philadelphia. Families already buffeted by difficult economic times saw their food stamps benefits drop on Nov. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

As we head into Thanksgiving weekend, Americans are still struggling and there’s less help available to them. It falls on all of us to pick up the slack, even as many urge the government to continue or expand programs for those in need.

After an anemic recovery following the Great Recession, historic numbers of Americans remain out of work for long periods. The poverty rate remains stubbornly stuck at 15 percent. As a result, 17 million American households are food insecure.

At the same time, many of the government programs put in place to help struggling Americans are expiring and Congress is opting not to renew them. Most recently, food stamps were cut dramatically at the start of November forcing people to survive on $1.40 in food assistance, per person, per meal. Sequestration will result in hundreds of thousands of low-income families losing housing assistance. And the cuts will likely continue: Congress has to renew long-term unemployment insurance by the end of December and, at the moment, it doesn’t look like it will.

Use Feeding America’s Food Bank Locator by entering your zip code to find a food bank near you to donate or volunteer »

We think about those who are going hungry around Thanksgiving and then through the December holidays. But in fact, as the safety net continues to get thinner, those facing hardship are hard-pressed year around. Consider donating food or volunteering during the holidays and then consider staying involved in the months that follow.

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