September is Hunger Action Month, a month dedicated to taking action to end food insecurity. When someone is food insecure, that means they have limited or uncertain access to enough food to support a healthy life. Some predictions show that upwards of 1 in 8 people (1 in 6 children) in the U.S. will experience food insecurity in 2021.
People who are food insecure are often living in poverty, which can force people to choose between buying food and paying rent, medical costs, utility bills, and other essential expenses. Resources like SNAP (food stamps), food pantries, and soup kitchens like Our Daily Bread work to alleviate hunger, providing food so that people don’t have to make as many impossible decisions about what to do with their limited resources.
Want to take action, but aren’t sure how? Check out the list below for 10 ideas of how you can fight hunger in your community!
- Let the people in your life know that you won’t judge them for needing support. It’s ok to need help sometimes, but asking for help when we need it can be challenging and make us feel vulnerable. Make it clear that you want to help without passing judgement. Once someone knows they can trust you, they may be open to getting information about food pantries, soup kitchens, SNAP benefits, and more.
- Learn about resources. Many people do not know what resources exist to help them with food, rent, utilities, and other costs of living. If you or someone you know is experiencing food insecurity, Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati has a handy list of local organizations that support the food insecure here in a Google map. You can also click here for a list of government benefits that provide food assistance, and check out this page on Feeding America’s website to find support applying for them, as the application process is not always straightforward.
- Run a canned food drive. Collecting canned and non-perishable foods is a great way to help out and raise awareness for Our Daily Bread or your local organization fighting hunger. Whether you go it alone or with a church, school, workplace, or other motivated group, your excitement will inspire others to join you in giving back! Click here for information on running your own drive with Our Daily Bread (look for the picture of canned goods toward the bottom of the page).
- Volunteer your time. When you think of volunteering, you may think of serving food in a line at a soup kitchen, and if you volunteer with us already, you definitely will! But, there are other options for volunteering with Our Daily Bread or an organization local to you. Think of your strengths: What is your work background? What are your hobbies? Have you ever served in a board of directors role or been part of a committee? If you have a business, are you able to donate your services? Your passions may translate into getting important work done behind the scenes!
- Donate food. While much of the food we serve comes from rescued-food sources, we need individuals and groups to donate fresh and prepared food, too! Whether you bake cookies, make sandwiches, or pick up some fruit from the grocery store, your donation and time is truly appreciated. Click here to visit our page on food donation for more information on needs, delivery instructions, and more.
- Show your support on social media. Spreading the word about Our Daily Bread and other organizations fighting hunger is vital to helping us get the resources we need to continue doing our important work! You can follow us on social media (check the links at the bottom right of this page), engage with and share our posts, or even create your own content about fighting hunger.
- Donate goods. Operating a soup kitchen requires more than volunteers and food! Consider the details: dish soap, trash bags, and other goods are necessary to keep things running smoothly. If you have a membership to a store like Costco or Sam’s Club, you can often get a lot of supplies for less than you’d expect. Check out our list of frequently-needed goods at the bottom of this page.
- Advocate. Contact your representatives about food insecurity. Sign petitions that address the root causes of poverty. Vote for representatives who are working to make life better for their constituents who can’t afford to feed their families. Look up your representatives, their contact info, websites, social media, bills they’ve introduced, committees they serve on, and political contributions they’ve received here.
- Donate or raise funds. Monetary donations help us keep our lights on and water running, pay our staff, use phones and internet connections, and ultimately, fight food insecurity while inspiring hope in our community. Whether you become a monthly sustaining donor, make a one-time gift, or even ask for donations in your name in lieu of gifts for your birthday or other special occasion, you’ll feel good knowing you made a difference. Click here to donate online today, or click here to learn more about donating by mail or phone, setting up a memorial, transferring stock, and more.
- Talk about food insecurity. Know thine enemy, right? Educate yourself and your loved ones about the causes, prevalence, and ways to help alleviate hunger. Click here to learn about hunger in the U.S. Ideas for conversations you could have include: What are the root causes of poverty in the U.S.? Have you ever had a hard time paying for food, and if so, what did you do? What steps can you take to help increase the chances you have access to food in the future (i.e., applying for SNAP or help with utilities)? Are you in a position in which you’re able to help others get the food they need or to help with other expenses?
There you have it, 10 ways to fight food insecurity! Which action will you take first?
Not in Cincinnati and want to fight hunger in your community? Reach out to your local food pantry or soup kitchen to ask about their specific needs and ways to support their work! Not sure where one is? Start here, or try Googling “food pantry near me” or “soup kitchen near me.”