Food Bank of Alaska urges people to get involved with Hunger Action Month

The Food Bank of Alaska is looking for donations during September's Hunger Action Month
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 9:47 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - September is National Hunger Action Month, a time to think about how we can help people in our community and across the state who are struggling with hunger and food insecurity.

A report from the group Feeding America estimates over 78,000 Alaskans struggle with food insecurity, a number that includes seniors and children in every corner of the state.

Cara Durr with the Food Bank of Alaska believes the figures may actually be higher.

“This year we have seen record need among our partners,” Durr said. “Many are reporting record months, record years.”

Durr attributes several factors to the rise in people using food pantries and resources from the Food Bank, including inflation that has caused soaring prices for food, gas, and rent, and a backlog in state benefits being processed that led to thousands of Alaskans not being recertified for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Others, Durr said, only recently discovered food pantries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s a good thing, we want resources to go to people that need them, so it feels good that we are serving more, but of course it puts extra burden on our network to ensure we can meet that need,” she said.

The Food Bank traditionally runs low on donations during the summer but Durr said people can help to fill the shelves now and Hunger Action Month is a great time to do it.

The Food Bank of Alaska Website has ideas for people to get involved. Channel 2 and CBS 5 have also embarked on a partnership during September to shine a light on hunger issues across the state.

“If somebody wants to host a food drive, that’s always very welcome, or if you want to donate financially, we’ve got bulk buying power so we can put that money to good use,” she said.

Durr said people are also welcome to clean out their pantries and donate unneeded items to the food bank.

“We have volunteers that will sort through the food, so if you are unsure if it’s expired or you can donate it, we say just donate it and will make sure it’s safe to distribute out,” she said.