- About Hunger
- How to End Hunger
- Our Impact
- Get Involved
Editor’s note: This post is part of a weekly, year-long series called the Nourishing Effect. It explores how hunger affects health through the lens of the 2016 Hunger Report. The report is an annual publication of Bread for the World Institute.
By Maria Rose Belding
Just-in-time donations have long been the lifeblood of emergency food providers. In a typical scenario, a local grocer might give 400 jars of peanut butter to a food pantry. But those jars expire in just two weeks, and some will end up in a landfill. This is especially frustrating when you consider how there is likely another pantry nearby that needs peanut butter and is going without or paying for it at cost.
In tens of thousands of food pantries, soup kitchens and food banks across the United States, volunteers and staff are in a battle against the clock to distribute donations before they expire. For decades, the clock has been winning. American emergency feeding systems threw out an estimated $650 million in product in 2012—and that number may be rising. As emergency food providers commit to serving healthier options, moving those goods is becoming a steeper challenge. Fresh fruit expires far faster than foods heavy with preservatives.
Our team at MEANS is representative of a growing population of young leaders challenging the status quo of how the emergency food system operates. MEANS is an acronym: Matching Excess And Need for Stability. We’re an online database system that allows food pantries to communicate with each other and with the donors who want to supply them. The same account allows users to alert their neighbors to their extra food and to receive targeted alerts that the food they’re looking for is available—all at no cost.
MEANS represents a unique opportunity to move more highly perishable goods to kitchen tables instead of landfills. Donors and recipients work together to arrange how to move the food. Retailers, businesses and other groups with leftovers now have an option far better than a dumpster. They can type what they have into a computer and someone will come pick it up. The food goes to the first agency that claims it by clicking a button in the alert.
MEANS is proud to be working with emergency food providers representing 1,500 partner agencies in 12 states and dozens of cities, such as the District of Columbia, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. We know emergency food providers work incredibly hard and are up against overwhelming need. They are the last resort for millions of hungry Americans.
Maria Rose Belding is the founder and executive director of the MEANS Database.
We know emergency food providers work incredibly hard and are up against overwhelming need.
Indigenous communities have some of the highest hunger rates in the United States. As a group, one in four Native Americans and Alaskan Natives are food insecure, defined as not having regular, reliable access to the foods needed for good health.
While hunger declined from 2017 for the general U.S. population, African Americans experienced a one percent increase, an increase of 153,000 African American households. This fact sheet explores the issue in depth.
Better nutrition is a necessary component of a country’s capacity to achieve development goals such as economic growth and improved public health.
Dear Members of Congress,
As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...
This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-African people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.
Thank you for inviting me to preach here at Duke University Chapel. And I especially want to thank the Bread for the World members who have come this morning.
Bruce Puckett urged...
A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.
For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.
Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.
In 2017, 11.8 percent of households in the U.S.—40 million people—were food-insecure, meaning that they were unsure at some point during the year about how they would provide for their next meal.
These fact sheets provide a snapshot of hunger and poverty in the United States and in each state plus Washington, D.C.