Pay It Forward

There’s something to be said for being a graduate student on a fixed income during an economic crisis.  Every store seems to be having a massive sale on at the moment, which makes our stipends stretch farther and, err, lets us buy new clothes.  I recommend spending some of your savings from the sales to help out those in need.

The New York Times recently published an interesting article about American food banks, which are making a number of innovations at the moment aiming at making their food offerings more efficient and more effective.  Near the end of the article are some disquieting quotes from food bank employees:

“I keep hearing that demand is up and up and up,” said Ross Fraser, a spokesman for Feeding America, which provides more than two billion pounds of food annually to food banks around the country. “I heard one person saying they’re feeding schoolteachers. The needle is moving higher up the socioeconomic class, and people making more money are needing emergency food assistance.”

Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, said he had “never seen anything” like the current economic situation.

“I’ve had people call me personally who have been donors for years, and said ‘Bill, I need help,’ ” Mr. Bolling said. “That’s disquieting to get those calls.”

In this time of increased hunger, some food banks are sadly being forced to close their doors due to decreased donations.  You can find food banks in your area from the website Feeding America.  I was amazed that I was able to buy three whole enormous bags of non-perishable groceries for only $20.  I encourage you to pick up at least one or two cans the next time you’re at the grocery store to donate to a local food drive.  As graduate students, we’re lucky to be relatively insulated from the economic crisis, so it’s a good time to pay it forward.

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2 Responses to “Pay It Forward”

  1. svdpmadison Says:

    I would encourage you to give your donations to a food pantry in your area and not donate to feeding america. What is not often mentioned is that local food pantries have to pay a “shared maintence fee” to get the food from Feeding America (formerly Second Harvest) so they can give it to those in need. Often that fee is 15 – 20 cents a pound. Feeding America does not ussually distribute the food, they only collect it.

  2. gradstudentliving Says:

    I absolutely agree about donating to a food pantry in your area. The nice thing that I have found about about the Feeding America website, however, is that they have a database of food pantries around the country — so you can look up pantries in your area via zip codes.

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