When natural disasters hit any community our thoughts go immediately to the people, families ...and pets who are suffering from the resulting damage. When these events occur, on a local or mass scale, there is undoubtedly someone in need and our initial attention should be focused on assessing the severity and loss of basic human needs-those that require being tended to right away. Of course tending to life threatening instances and assessing the severity of trauma or bodily injury is priority and should be administered by qualified individuals if at all possible. the next step is to make sure there is a clean, fluid and plentiful source of water followed by securing food and then shelter.
Food Bank Charities
One charitable category to consider in times of natural disaster relief needs is the Food-Bank. Food-banks are non-profit charitable organizations that distribute food to those who have difficulty accessing or purchasing enough food for themselves and family (and pets) to avoid going hungry.
The food-bank model is one in which food is generally "warehoused" meaning the food is stored and then distributed from “warehouse” locations when needs arise. In the U.S., most of the time, the food is not distributed from the warehouse directly to those in need but rather is spread to community or government entities who then give directly. Many other countries use the warehouse-to-recipient direct model. You can decide for yourself which models meet your support criteria.
Either way If you decide to get involved you can volunteer at local operations and find information on them through online local search. When conducting an online search enter keywords like food pantry, food closets, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, orphanages and schools.
Consider the food source.
To start, a good food-bank has a rigorous method of conducting food quality assurance. Obviously dates on packaged goods are a good start and canned goods have a long shelf life and are easily distributed. Fresh foods such as meats and garden type produce, although desirable, are unfortunately highly perishable. The biggest sources of food include are for-profit growers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers who in the normal course of business have excess food that they cannot sell. Some food-banks receive a substantial proportion of their food from individual donors, including their volunteer workers.
Unfortunately the food-bank model has been caught in ideological crossfire. "The growth of food banks has been broadly welcomed, most especially by those on the right of the political spectrum, but also by many on the left, who see them as evidence of active community that is independent of the state. However, academics and commentators have expressed concern that the rise of food-banks may erode political support for welfare provision".
Don’t Forget Pets
Some U.S. cities have organizations that provide dog and cat food for pets whose owners qualify for food assistance. Animals can suffer just as much as their human counterparts when a natural disaster hits so keep this in mind as you explore the food-bank charity world.
As always do your homework and make sure the charity you select meets high standards of operation. Quality and nutritional value-diversity is a common oversight so make sure your food-bank is taking care to keep the nutritional balance a priority. Make sure the high majority of the donations including food and moneys go to those in need. Run properly food-banks are a great resource in times of need not only for natural disaster victims but for low income and poverty stricken folks who need periods of help accessing good food sources that are regularly available and reliable.