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Your emergency preparedness stockpile: What you need to know - page 14 / 28





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Get Ready Food Drive Toolkit

Help your community be more prepared: Organize a food drive

A merica has long been called the land of plenty. However, each year, millions of Ameri- cans go hungry. In 2008, more than 49 million Americans lived in households that didn’t have enough food, including 16.7 million children, according to the U.S. De- partment of Agriculture. That’s a lot of people — many of whom depend on community food banks to make sure they have enough to eat. Also in 2008, about 4 percent of all U.S. house- holds — about 4.8 million — received emergency food from a food bank at least once, according to Feeding America.

Readiness for disasters means having a prepared community

If so many people need food on a regular basis, what happens when a disaster strikes? Unfortunately, history has shown that demand on already-strapped food banks increases when the worst happens.

Food banks can be called on to help with emergency supplies during a disaster, and people who have been displaced from their homes or forced to evacuate may turn to food banks for help. That’s why it’s important that food banks have enough supplies on hand at all times — no one knows when a disaster may happen.

The fact is that being ready for disasters isn’t just about personal preparedness, it’s also about preparing your community. And making sure your community is prepared for emergencies means ensuring your local food bank is ready as well. That’s where you come in.

One of the best ways to support your local food bank (besides making a donation or volunteering your time) is to hold a food drive. Luckily, holding a food drive — whether at school, at work, at your place of worship or another location — can be easy to do with the right planning.

The American Public Health Association’s Get Ready campaign, which works to help Americans prepare themselves, their families and their communities for all disasters and hazards, has created this food drive toolkit to help you plan, promote, organize and conduct your community food drive. That way if the worst happens, your local food bank will be ready to help.

Above, employees with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Transitional Recovery Office in Mississippi load donated food into a truck for the Twelve Baskets Food Bank in Gulfport in June 2009. Photo by Jennifer Smits, courtesy FEMA.

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