Food BankA food bank is a non profit organization that receives food donations in order to redistribute them to several smaller agencies which take care of feeding the hungry. The food comes mostly from manufacturers and purveyors with an excess of food that cannot be sold, however, personal donations may also be accepted. Some of the intermediaries that allocate the food include food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, orphanages, and schools. Soup kitchens are usually run by volunteers in poor neighborhoods, while homeless shelters provide transient residence to vagrants and what have you.
The forerunner of foodbanks was a man named John van Hengel who, in 1965 found out about grocery stores that got rid of slightly damaged or almost expired food. He took to collecting this still edible material for the community dining room for which he volunteered. When he still found himself with too much food for so few mouths, he though of a centralized locality from which any agency could receive donations. Two years later, the St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance in Arizona was born. From there, the concept spread quickly to the rest of the United States, soon after to the United Kingdon, and eventually, the whole world.
Since much of the donated food is bordering its expiration date, conscious efforts are taken in order to ensure that this food is nonetheless still safe to consume. More often than not, however, the comestibles are discarded because they are no longer visually appealing to paying customers, but they are still fit to fulfill their primary goal, which is to quench hunger. Food may be gathered from the general public at food drives as well, even though this is also habitually done in case of a natural disaster, either locally or internationally. In general, a food bank functions similarly to a blood bank.