Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

The first requirement of a civilized society is to feed its citizens. Unfortunately, some people can fall through the cracks and experience food insecurity or real hunger. Malnutrition is a serious social problem, but there are ways to solve it. Many public, private, and non profit programs exist to answer the need for individuals and families to fill the pantry with adequate food.

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The first place to turn for help with a food budget is public assistance. In the United States, the Supplemental Nutrition Aid Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, provides food vouchers to millions of needy families in what the USDA calls the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. To access this lifesaving aid, applicants must file a request with the local department of human assistance. The department then considers the applicant’s income, expenses, and need before issuing a debit card that can be used to buy food almost anywhere in the state. Another federally administered program, WIC, directly subsidizes the purchase of child-oriented food such as milk, eggs, and bread.

If a family in need is not eligible for SNAP, or if the food stamps are inadequate for the monthly food budget, many charitable organizations are willing to help. Every year, the Salvation Army provides 60 million meals to needy people through soup kitchens, food banks, and community gardens, according to the charity’s official estimates.

Feeding the hungry is the first imperative of virtually every system of ethics ever devised. Putting that imperative into practice on a national scale is challenging, but a network of agencies, public and private, is working to catch every last person who is in danger of going hungry. To learn more and get ideas for how to help, subscribe to the Hunger Site for updates and alerts as they are posted or opt to have the updates delivered straight to email.

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