Food Pantry vs. Food Bank | The River Food Pantry
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I have to admit—I did not completely understand the difference between a “food pantry” and a “food bank” when I applied for my job at The River. After working here for almost a year now, I frequently hear people use the terms interchangeably. While both types of organizations are dedicated to feeding those in need, there are important distinctions between the two.

A food pantry:

  • Distributes food and other products directly to people facing hunger
  • Purchases food and receives food donations from food banks, food and grocery manufacturers, retailers, and food drives
  • Needs volunteers to help prepare and serve hot meals, as well as assist clients with selecting free groceries and clothing
  • Serves local households

A food bank:

  • Collects and stores food and other products that are then distributed to food pantries
  • Donates (or sells for a very discounted rate) bulk quantities of food to hunger-relief organizations
  • Needs volunteers to help sort and package large amounts of food
  • Serves a wide network of food pantries, charities and meal programs

By working together, we will end hunger and build a stronger community.

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