Most people think that a donation of canned goods is the only way to help a food bank. However, cash donations are equally important. When you donate food to a community pantry, you’re directly feeding people in need. But you’re also creating a large volume of groceries that will need to be stored and categorized properly so that they can be distributed. Financial donations help cover essential overhead costs that keep the food bank up and running.

Here are some ways that a local food bank could put your cash donation to good use.

Paying for Rent and Refrigeration
People in dense urban centers experience hunger just like people in rural communities. However, in cities, the rent for storage warehouses and the cost of electricity can be extremely high. Food banks need a safe and sanitary space to store tons of food donations. This space needs to be clean, large, and centrally located so that people can use public transportation to access it. Often, this means a high price tag for rent.

Have you ever considered how much refrigeration is necessary for a large food bank? If your own fridge holds enough food to feed your family for three days, consider how much refrigerator space is necessary to feed thousands of people for a single week. Reliable refrigeration can prolong the life of food donations and it’s an essential line of the food bank’s budget. Your cash donations help keep food cold and fresh until it’s ready to be distributed.

Purchasing Food
Food banks have unique access to farms, manufacturers, and other food suppliers. They can often get better deals on food than you can, partially thanks to their ability to purchase in bulk and closer to the food’s expiration date.

Not only can the food bank get food for cheaper, but they also know which items are necessary. For instance, it’s possible that the food bank has received a lot of canned beans but not enough fruit. By donating cash to a food bank, you empower the people on the ground to fill in the pantry gaps.

Paying a Project Manager or Office Coordinator
Many of the workers at the food bank are volunteers. But every food bank needs a staff of trained people (on payroll) who can organize donations, manage volunteers, fundraise, and handle visitors and food distribution onsite. To provide the best experience for clients, the office manager needs to be reliable and knowledgeable.

Your cash donations help train and support the people who make the food bank possible! From covering an honorarium for the volunteer coordinator to a salary for the onsite pantry manager, financial donations are essential to the smooth operations of every food bank. ​

If you’re interested in getting involved, there are plenty of ways to make a difference. Remember that cash donations and food donations are equally important to help feed our community. If you have just $1 to give, Second Harvest Food Bank can turn that dollar into $5 worth of groceries! Contact us today if you’re interested in volunteering or making a donation with Second Harvest Food Bank.