Foundation Guide

A Tour of Our Global Community of Giving

Foundation Guide

A Tour of Our Global Community of Giving

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Foundation Guide - Feeding America


With over 41 million Americans facing food insecurity, Feeding America is the largest domestic hunger-relief organization in the United States. According to estimates, each day one in eight Americans goes hungry. The Feeding America organization endeavors to obtain food from several sources, including farmers, retailers, and manufacturers and to bring it to people in need.

There are over 200 Feeding America food banks in operation across the United States

Supported Causes

Each Feeding America food bank is independent and operates in a specific area and community while supporting several other local partner distributors. The organization sponsors around 60,000 meal programs and food pantries.

Feeding America food banks are mostly large warehouses where food is stored before being distributed to needy people in the community. Food pantries function as the arms that reach out to that community directly, sometimes by using mobile food pantries, which reach people in areas of great need.

The organization places an emphasis on food rescue. While there is more than enough food in the US to feed everyone, around 72 million pounds of edible, nutritious food is reportedly wasted each year. Feeding America works closely with farmers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to ensure that food is effectively recovered and consumed before going to waste. Realizing the need for everyone in society to receive healthy food, even those in need, Feeding America announced a plan in 2017 to increase the nutritional value of the food in its food banks and intends to offer more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in the years ahead.


Feeding America concentrates its efforts in four main areas:

  • Donations and Obtaining Food: Feeding America works to secure donations from national retailers, farmers, federal government organizations, and other non-profits to ensure the supply of community food pantries.
  • Logistics: Feeding America receives, stores, and then ships donated products to food banks across the nation. The organization also provides oversight, training, and equipment grants to food banks in each state.
  • Food Distribution: Food banks are responsible for the distribution of products through food pantries and meal programs in local communities.
  • Other supported projects: Feeding America also supports public education programs about hunger in the United States and advocacy groups lobbying for legislation to battle food insecurity.

The Foundation's History

In the 1960s, retired Arizona businessman John van Hengel began volunteering at a local soup kitchen and saw that the kitchen received more food than it could handle. Inspired by one of his clients, he began soliciting and storing unwanted food from local stores and farms. In 1975, he received a federal grant to help create food banks across the United States. In 2001, the organization, then called America’s Second Harvest, merged with Foodchain, the country’s largest food-rescue organization. The organization became known as Feeding America in 2008 and is the third-largest charity in the United States.

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