Update: Peterr clarifies the difference between food bank and food pantry, etc., here.
(Hey, I know that complaining about politics is our jam in Emptywheel comments, but can we keep the ones on this post to mutual aid and resources for now?)
The time of Covid-19 is different time, and we have to meet it with different commitments.
This pandemic isn’t just killing people, it’s putting people out of work, and driving the precarious into being the marginal of society. What many people need right now, even more than medical care, is food. At the same time, food banks are losing their donations while serving more people than ever. This need is immediate now, but it’s also going to last much longer than the quarantine itself. The world will be reeling from this for many years.
I try to support and lift up people doing good and vital work every month, but this time is different. I’m committing to support the food bank local to where I am now, for the minimum of two years, and one that I would especially exhort you to consider doing this yourself, in the opening hours of this era of need.
The history of pandemics isn’t just a history of disease and death, it’s a history of the breakdown of logistical systems, of economic hardship, and of tremendous working together and mutual aid. It’s a time of social upheaval, but also times of social innovation. Epidemics wreck nations, and birth public health systems. They teach us fragility, and we fall silent at the end of the lesson.
Everyone is going to have a lot of time to think about their place in the world in the next months, at least, I hope you all do. Many of us will be touched by tragedy, and some of us will be crushed. Some of us will be able to give to institutions like food banks, and some of us, some of the people reading this, are going to need them.
I hope that you and your people emerge unscathed, but I also know not everyone will. The history of plagues is surprisingly full of generosity and honor. And we’re going to need a lot of those qualities in the coming years. In that spirit, I’m committing to a monthly donation to the SF-Marin Food Bank, not in one lump sum, but for years to come.
America is not a kind country, and the need is tremendous here, and it will last years after Covid-19 has largely passed. Please join me in making a two or more year commitment to supporting a local food bank, if you can.
If you can’t, and you find that you need a food bank, don’t hesitate. They are there to help you, and we all need you back on your feet.
Here’s a directory of food banks in America, one for Canada (Thanks, Mary R!), and another one for the UK. If you know of other directories or food banks, please leave them in the comments. If you decide to support a food bank, please also leave that in the comments.