What is the Difference Between a Food Bank and Food Pantry?


In the United States, there are meal programs in almost every community. However, the differences between food pantries and food banks can be confusing. So, what is the difference?


According to feedingamerica.org,

A food bank is a non-profit that safely stores millions of pounds of food that will soon be delivered to local food programs, like a food pantry. Food banks are all different sizes. Some are very large - more than 25 of our food banks are double the size of an average wholesale club. Regardless of size, the food they store is donated from local neighbors, retailers, grocery stores, and restaurants. Every food bank serves a specific area that varies in size.

A food pantry is a distribution center where hungry families can receive food. Supplied with food from a food bank, pantries feed hundreds of people per week! Because every community is different, there are many different types of pantries.

Here's one special type of pantry:

Some communities have barriers that make getting food difficult – such as seniors with limited mobility or rural communities with little transportation. These barriers can be overcome with a mobile pantry -  a pantry on wheels. At a mobile pantry, truckloads of food are distributed to people in pre-packed boxes or displayed on folding tables farmer’s market-style.

Source: Waite, Tori. “What's the Difference between a Food Bank and Food Pantry?” Feeding America, 20 Feb. 2019, www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-blog/what-difference-between-food-bank-and-food-pantry.