When you hear the words "Food Bank," what comes to mind? Whatever you think of, you're probably right. Food banks in the United States are diverse - from small operations to very large facilities. Some store and distribute many millions of pounds of food each year. Others serve and empower families spread out across large rural areas. The one thing all food banks have in common is they rely on volunteers and donors to carry out their mission. It's a real group effort. An effort that empowers thousands.
According to the USDA's latest Household Food Insecurity report, more than 38 million people struggle with hunger in the United States.
We're here to help with some ways to make a positive impact on your community. Food can empower families, and lessen the burden many families face. Our example - Cleveland - where the Greater Cleveland Food Bank puts a parking lot made famous by a football team to good use by feeding families.
A PARKING LOT AND SO MUCH MORE
Just say "Muni Lot" to a Clevelander and you're sure to get a few barks. Yes, barks. It's where thousands of Cleveland Browns fans tailgate for home NFL football games as they eat, drink, and bark for the beloved Browns and the "Dawg Pound." (The Dawg Pound is a cheering section in the stadium bleachers made famous by two defensive backs in the 1980's, but that's a whole different story.) Seems a bit ironic that food is the focus most Thursday afternoons as volunteers in conjunction with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank distribute food to those who need it.
Media Communications Specialist Emma Shamburger says it's an effort that takes a great deal of teamwork. "We started using the Muni Lot during the pandemic, and it's really become a good, central location for everyone, Shamburger says, "It all happens because of the great team of volunteers that we have, many help year after year. Our parent company is Feeding America, so wherever you live, Feeding America is likely to have a food bank or hunger center near you where you can help out."
HELPING CHILDREN - PERSONAL SAFETY AND COMFORT WITH FOOD
That help is especially important for children across the country right now.
Summer is the hungriest season for millions of kids. Why? More than 22-million children depend on school breakfast and lunch programs. For many, summer vacation means a loss of a reliable food source, and more families than ever risk food insecurity as they struggle to make up the difference.
Hunger can have deep consequences for children, making it more difficult to them to learn, play, and connect with other kids and even adults.
SPECIFIC WAYS TO HELP
Regardless of where you live, here are a few ways you and your family can help kids facing hunger this summer and beyond.
- Volunteer - Contact your local food bank or pantry, the need for volunteers is everywhere.
- Donate - A cash donation goes a long way. Almost all Food Banks are able to purchase non-perishable food at a much reduced price, which makes a cash donation go much further.
- Advocate - Be a voice for those who need help by making sure your local government agencies are doing their part.
SUMMER SAFETY TIPS FOR EVERYONE
You can also have a positive impact on the personal safety and security of your family and children this summer. Education leads to empowerment when it comes to staying safe.
- Always Hydrate - Carry a re-usable water bottle and make sure your children carry water with them.
- Remember Water Safety - Life vests are a must on all watercraft, and don't let swimming pools become danger zones. Supervise children at all times.
- Have a First Aid Kit - You can make your own with band-aids, Neosporin, gauze, and some first aid tape.
- Be Aware of Wildlife - Dogs and bears are a concern, especially when you camp or travel to area where bears live. Consider Muzzle Dog Repellent and Guard Alaska Bear Spray. Get them together in our Camping Safety Kit.
- Prepare for Back to School and College - A personal alarm keychain with a built-in whistle is great for children of all ages. And our College Safety Kit has what every college student needs to stay safe.
At MACE®, we focus on our mission statement every day: providing community and family safety through individual empowerment.
"WORKING FOR THE COMMON GOOD"
What happens when you volunteer at your local food bank? Perhaps it's best summed up by Terrence Rounds, who has been a volunteer for 25 years in Cleveland. "You have no idea how rewarding volunteering is, we see people coming from all over, and you're just working for the common good, it really expands your sense of neighborhood."
And expanding that sense of neighborhood is what we're all about at Mace® Brand as well. Stay safe and take some time to make a difference in your neighborhood.
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