Is a Food Bank the same as a Food Pantry? No!

Food Banks are large regional organizations that operate warehouses and trucks. Their boundaries may span a few or dozens of counties. They work with Farmers, Packers, Processors, Distributors, Truckers, Retailers, Brokers, Reclamation Centers, and Government Agencies because these groups often have large quantities of food to donate.

These donations may be due to simple surpluses, seconds, misprints, short-fills, dented goods, left-over holiday items, customer refusals, over-bakes, discontinued product lines, etc.

The Food Bank takes delivery of these items at their warehouse and then loads its own trucks to deliver food to Food Pantries and other local agencies. Food Banks generally have paid professional staff. A large Food Bank may supply several hundred Food Pantries and other agencies.


Food Pantries are usually small organizations that operate out of churches, store fronts, or industrial parks. Their boundaries may be a neighborhood, a city, several cities, or a county. They often work with local stores and restaurants to acquire surplus food, and they receive donations of food and money from local supporters. Often most of their food comes from their regional Food Bank.

Most Food Pantries are staffed entirely by volunteers.
Donate in the way that does the most good