|Headquarters||35 East Wacker
|Region served||United States|
|Membership||Over 200 food banks|
|President & CEO||Bob Aiken|
|Main organ||Board of Directors|
Feeding America is a United States-based non-profit organization that is a nationwide network of food banks that feeds more that 37 million people through food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in communities across America and leads the nation in the fight against hunger.
In the late 1960s, John van Hengel, a retired businessman in Phoenix, Arizona began volunteering at a local soup kitchen, and began soliciting food donations for the kitchen. He ended up with far more food than the kitchen could use in its operations. Around this time, he spoke with one of the clients, who told him that she regularly fed her family with discarded items from the grocery store's garbage bins. She told him that the food quality was fine, but that there should be a place where unwanted food could be stored and later accessed by people who needed it, similar to how banks store money.
Van Hengel began to actively solicit this unwanted food from grocery stores, local gardens, and nearby produce farms. His effort led to the creation of St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix, the nation's first food bank.
In 2001, America's Second Harvest merged with Foodchain, at that time the nation's largest food-rescue organization.
In September 2008, the organization name was changed to Feeding America. The new name conveys the mission—providing food to Americans living with hunger—and will be supported through expansive public outreach campaigns that will raise awareness of domestic hunger and Feeding America's work.
In August 2009, Columbia Records announced that all U.S. royalties from Bob Dylan's album Christmas in the Heart would be donated to Feeding America, in perpetuity.
There has been a rise in the numbers suffering from hunger since the 2008 financial crisis. In 2012, Feeding America reported that about 49 million Americans were now facing the condition, about one in six of the population. In September, they launched Hunger Action Month, with events planned all over the nation, to raise awareness and get more Americans involved in helping out.
Feeding America works to educate the general public and keep them informed about hunger in America. The national office produces educational and research papers that spotlight aspects of hunger and provides information on hunger, poverty and the programs that serve vulnerable Americans. Feeding America's public policy staff works with legislators, conducting research, testifying at hearings and advocating for changes in public attitudes and laws that support Feeding America's network and those the organization serves.
Notable food banks in the network
- Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, California
- Arkansas Foodbank Network in Little Rock, Arkansas
- Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C.
- Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank Comstock Park, MI
- Food Bank For New York City in New York City
- Food Bank of Delaware in Delaware
- Food Lifeline in Seattle, Washington
- Good Shepherd Food Bank in Maine
- Greater Boston Food Bank in Boston, Massachusetts
- Greater Chicago Food Depository in Chicago, Illinois
- Houston Food Bank in Houston, Texas
- North Texas Food Bank in Dallas, Texas
- Philabundance in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Redwood Empire Food Bank in northern California
- Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties in northern California
- Second Harvest Food Bank in Irvine, California
- Second Harvest North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida
- Tarrant Area Food Bank in Fort Worth, Texas
- Vermont Foodbank in Barre, Vermont
- "VistaPrint and America's Second Harvest Collaborate With Procter & Gamble to Offer Exclusive Holiday Cards". 2007-10-15. Archived from the original on 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Transitions". 2005-10-09. Archived from the original on 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- Patricia Sullivan (2005-10-08). "John van Hengel Dies at 83; Founded 1st Food Bank in 1967". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- O'Connor, Alice; Mink, Gwendolyn (2004). Poverty in the United States: an encyclopedia of history, politics, and policy. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. p. 389. ISBN 1-57607-597-4.
- "'Idol' Charity Donations Top $60M - washingtonpost.com". The Washington Post. 2007-04-26. Archived from the original on 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- Anti-hunger efforts under way in area Beloit daily news. 6 Sept 2012
- Food banks spotlight hunger awareness Amarillo globe news. 7 Sept 2012
- Alex Ferreras (2012-07-11). "Thousands More in Solano, Napa Counties are Turning to Food Banks". Retrieved 2012-09-08.