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Food Bank or Food Pantry?

The difference between “Food Bank” and “Food Pantry”

Many communities have a local “food pantry”, sometimes mistakenly called a “food bank”. Most of these community food pantries are sponsored by local area churches and/or community coalitions.

A community food pantry’s mission is to directly serve local residents who suffer from hunger and food insecurity within
a specified area.

Independent community food pantries are self-governing and usually distribute food to their clients on a once-a-month basis.

A food bank is the storehouse for millions of pounds of food and other products that go out to the community. A food pantry functions as the arms that reach out to that community directly.

The Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s mission is to “feed the hungry” by providing food to these food pantries for distribution into their respective communities. The Food Bank’s daily operation consists of sourcing and gathering food, sorting and cataloging the food, then warehousing the inventory to be distributed to our over 150 partner agencies throughout our six county service area in the Southern Tier of New York State.

Food banks and food pantries—they are not the same. But they share the same commitment. At the Food Bank of the Southern Tier, we are proud of our partnership with food pantries—and many other organizations—who act with us on the belief that nobody should ever go hungry.

If you are in need of assistance, find a nearby food pantry or meal program near you