National Food Bank Day
the first Friday in September (since 2017)
St. Mary's Food Bank in 2017
National Food Bank Day was created in 2017, to commemorate fifty years since the founding of St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, the first food bank in the world, and to "recognize the outstanding contributions of food banks around the country". St. Mary's was founded by John ven Hengel in 1967, and its mission is to "alleviate hunger through the gathering and distribution of food while encouraging self-sufficiency, collaboration, advocacy and education." They distribute 250,000 meals a day, and food banks around the country help many of the 42 million people who are hungry, a great portion of whom are children. Hunger can come for many reasons: illness, a loss of a job, natural disasters, or a change in other life circumstances. Many food banks offer educational opportunities to help people restart their lives, and many of those who regain their footing return to volunteer at the food banks that helped them. In the United States, most food banks act as distribution centers to smaller local food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters. Most food comes from for-profit businesses that have excess food, but food also comes from individual volunteers.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by making a food or monetary donation to a food bank or food pantry. Check if they have lists of what they most need. You could also volunteer at a large food bank, or a more local distribution center.