While We Complain about the Caf, Local Food Banks Help the Hungry


ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — Senior Airman Tiffany Trojca, Tech. Sgt. Keith Holycross and Airman 1st Class Eileen Payne, all from the 49th Fighter Wing staff, wrap silverware during the soup kitchen at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Dec. 17. Airmen from Holloman Air Force Base and members of the community volunteer at the Soup Kitchen which provides meals to those in need. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Means)

If I asked you to define the word “soup kitchen” what would you say? Most people would describe a soup kitchen as a place where they feed the hungry or homeless. If that was your answer you wouldn’t be wrong, but it actually goes into more depth than that. Although most people tend to group food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens together, there is a difference between the three.

Food banks collect and store food that is then distributed to local food pantries, charities and meal programs. Most hungry people don’t go directly to food banks, and food banks don’t give food directly to the hungry. According to Meghan Demaria, a news and lifestyle writer for bustle.com, “food banks are essentially warehouses — the hungry go to food pantries, which are stocked by food banks.”

The important distinction between food banks and food pantries is that food banks are where donations are stored, and food pantries can directly distribute food items to those in need. “Food pantries put together packages of unprepared food for people who have homes but don’t necessarily have the means to feed their families on their own,” said Demaria.

Soup kitchens offer prepared food and hot meals to the hungry for free. Volunteers can locally help prepare meals, serve the food or help with cleaning up. There are a few local options if you wanted to help out. The two closest soup kitchens to Piedmont College are the Habersham Soup Kitchen Inc. and the Lord’s Help Soup Kitchen, both located in Cornelia.

If you’ve got a busy schedule and can’t volunteer on a regular basis, there are still ways you can help the hungry. Meals on Wheels, for example, provides nutritious meals to people who may not be able to leave their homes. You could help the team prepare food or deliver the meals and help keep the homebound residents company. You could also donate directly to Feeding America or to your local food pantry or meal program, either in the form of money or by purchasing necessary food supplies.

Soup kitchens help provide a safe, clean, uplifting environment for those in need of food and fellowship. Not only do they serve the homeless, the working poor, the unemployed and their families, but they also serve anyone in need. They help people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in crisis. And you can help them by volunteering.

If you would like to volunteer at the Habersham Soup Kitchen Inc their address is: 147 Pine St NW, Cornelia, GA 30531.

Or, if you’d like to volunteer at The Lord’s Help Soup Kitchen go visit them at: 236 Level Grove Road, Cornelia, GA 30531.