Food pantries provide emergency food packages for people who do not have enough money to buy food. They are intended to fill in a gap as an emergency program and do not provide people with food on a continuous basis. Some pantries have a limit to how often you can get groceries. The food packages vary from one pantry to another, but some offer vegetables, frozen meat, canned goods, cereal, pasta and other grocery staples. Infant formula, diapers and baby food are available at certain locations, so you should mention if you need these items when you call for a referral.
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Emergency Food Clearinghouses programs coordinate requests for emergency food assistance by screening individuals who apply using criteria established by the food pantries or other providers, maintaining lists of individuals who have been aided, and checking new applicants against the lists before referring them to a resource that can meet their needs. Emergency food clearinghouses help to avoid duplication of service and maximize the availability of food resources while relieving the agencies of the task of handling requests directly. Also included are programs that refer people needing food to an appropriate resource, but which are not the sole source for this information.
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What’s the difference between a food pantry and a food bank?
A food pantry provides emergency food packages. A food bank can take large donations and make bulk purchases, then act as a warehouse and distributor for a group of food pantries. A person needing food would receive services at the food pantry and not a food bank.