Editorial: Give thanks for food bank grants
The shopping lists are being made.
There’s the turkey. You’ll need the stuff to make the stuffing. Potatoes, of course — both sweet and starchy. The cranberry sauce that might not get eaten at all but still somehow seems necessary. Pies, lots of pies, but with whipped cream or ice cream? Eh, better get both.
But for people who depend on food banks to make ends meet when it comes to putting meals on the table, Thanksgiving isn’t just a shopping trip. It’s a vivid example of what they don’t have.
That makes the work that food banks do important. It makes a cash-strapped family’s budget more elastic, providing enough food to make things stretch enough to not collapse the precarious house of cards that can be a life spent on the edge of having enough to get by.
A new grant program is a government unicorn. It doesn’t just give food banks a way to do more. It gives them a way to do better — and be green about it.
The state Department of Environmental Protection is offering awards of up to $200,000 to nonprofits that allow them to buy things like freezers and refrigerators.
Food banks often can’t accept perishable donations because they can’t store them. With the grants, they will be able to provide healthier food like fresh fruits and vegetables. That helps people.
It also helps the environment by keeping food that could be used from rotting in a landfill.
“Instead of throwing it away, it can be used by people who need it the most,” said Westmoreland County Food Bank CEO Jennifer Miller. “We try not to put anything in the landfill that doesn’t have to be there.”
Seems logical. The Environmental Protection Agency says 30.5 million tons of food waste went into landfills in 2015 alone. If that can be scaled back, it could cut the amount of solid waste being dumped by 25%.
A program that helps people, helps the environment and makes sense? That sounds like a reason to give thanks.