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Sunday, 13 January 2013 16:39

How your donation stays local

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LFI says that my donation helps feed people in my local community. But there is no food bank in my town - the one that serves my county is several hundred miles away. How, then, does my donation stay local?

The answer has a lot to do with semantics: and specifically, knowing the difference between a food bank and a food pantry.

Together, the 8 food bank members of Feeding Illinois serve every county in the state. Food banks run a number of programs designed to fight hunger, but their primary work is to acquire and distribute massive amounts (millions and millions of pounds) of food to local agencies throughout their service area - agencies like food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Each food bank has a network of hundreds of such agencies that rely on the food bank's immense stores of food to keep their shelves stocked.

So, if there is a food pantry or a soup kitchen in your town, it likely gets its food from the regional food bank assigned to your county. In fact, the food bank probably makes deliveries to that pantry, even if it's pretty far from the food bank's warehouse location. We have a handy-dandy clickable map on our website, here, that shows how the counties are divided up across the state.

And even if there's not a pantry near you, your food bank likely conducts other programs in your community - like the BackPack program to feed kids on weekends, or the Mobile Pantry program to bring food to areas with no access to food pantries. If you want more specific information about which local agencies receive support from your regional food bank, contact your regional food bank or visit their website. There are also some more statewide facts about hunger and food banks here.

When you give to Lawyers Feeding Illinois, your donation will support your regional food bank. We will use your zip code to determine which food bank region you live in, so your gift will stay local even if you support a team in another region. (Teams will still receive all applicable points for the funds they've raised.)

Want to see your donation in action? Contact your local food bank for a tour. It's really an incredible sight!

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