5 Ways to Fight Hunger this MLK Day

Fight Hunger

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said of food insecurity in the United States: “Let us march on poverty until no American parent has to skip a meal so that their children may eat.”

According to the USDA, more than 34 million people, including 9 million children, in the United States are food insecure. Every community in the country is home to families who face hunger. But rural communities and families of color are especially hard hit. Many households that experience food insecurity do not utilize or qualify for federal nutrition programs and rely on local food pantries and other programs for extra support.

Dr. King also said that “everyone can be great because everybody can serve.” PORCH’s model makes it easy for you to join with our growing network of 1,000+ volunteers from all walks of life to fight food insecurity. As we prepare to honor Dr. King with a day of service, consider how you want to share your time, talent or “treasure” – or all three – to make a difference in the fight against food insecurity in your own town.. 

Can you offer your time and talents on a monthly basis? Can you take on a leadership role? Can you make a financial gift? PORCH works because it is easy, inclusive, consistent and flexible. Here are five of the ways you can to get involved with PORCH in 2023: 

Become a food donor. Every month PORCH chapters publish the day you can set unopened non-perishables out on your porch for pick up. Nothing could be easier. We have chapters in eight states that have distributed more than $7 million in hunger relief to neighbors in need. Find a chapter near you, and then look to its website for the next pick up date. Some chapters, like the one in Marietta, Georgia, have online registries so that with a few clicks, food donors can order and ship items – canned goods, boxes of cereal, boxes of dried pasta, and more – to the chapter leader’s front door. 

Become a Neighborhood Coordinator. Every month, neighborhood coordinators publish the items your local pantry needs most and then, on collection day, pick up all the food and deliver it to the partner.  Neighborhood Coordinators commit a few hours per month to be the “heart and soul” of PORCH. It always helps when a neighborhood coordinator has lots of personal connections with neighbors. That said, being a neighbor coordinator is a great way to meet new neighbors, especially if you have just moved into a neighborhood. Contact your local PORCH chapter to inquire about becoming a neighborhood coordinator. 

Become a financial donor. Each chapter’s website has a link to give to support local food purchases, often for produce, dairy and other items that cannot be safely collected from donors.. You can also give to PORCH Communities, our national team launching and sustaining our local PORCH chapters. Your support makes a real difference for families facing hunger, and recurring donations are especially important.

Start a chapter, to support a pantry. If you don’t live in an area with a PORCH chapter, consider starting one! All local PORCH chapters start by coordinating monthly neighborhood food drives. Identify a local pantry partner to receive your neighbors’ donations. Then, introduce the idea – and PORCH – to your community, even if it’s just a single neighborhood. Run your first PORCH for Pantries food drive, drop off the food with the pantry, and then get ready to repeat the steps. PORCH Communities is here to support you every step of the way.

Start a chapter, to support your school’s families. We’ve seen an increasing number of school pantries being created in local schools and colleges to help address food insecurity. The PORCH for Schools program uses our proven PORCH for Pantries model to benefit families in need through your local school. We coach you on how to partner with your school social worker to stock an emergency pantry on site and/or to distribute food packages their students in need can take home.  This blog takes you through the first steps!.As always, reach out to us for support. PORCH Communities provides hands-on resources, tools, and connections to other PORCH volunteer leaders who have vast experience. Thank you for joining our national movement of neighbors helping neighbors!