Time: Here's just one tiny piece of a problem that is systemic. We’re all short on time but some of us can afford to make up for that by using money. When the banks of time and money are both empty, you’ve got a problem.
Somebody commented about this on The Kitchn yesterday. I was glad because I’ve been meaning to address it. I wanted to respond there, but had registered previously under an unremembered email address and couldn’t get into the system.
I’m not going to pretend to know what it feels like to be really hungry, because I don’t, but here’s a scenario: You live in a neighborhood without a grocery store. You don’t have a car. The bus service sucks. You have children and you work more than one low paying job. Though your neighborhood doesn’t have a grocery store, it does have 5 or 6 fast food outlets. Many of these places have $1 meal deals. You can’t get to a grocery store and even if you could, you can’t afford the fruits and vegetables sold there and even if you could, you don’t have time to cook them. The food bank is far far away. What would you do if you and your kids were hungry? I think we all know the answer.
I do live in a neighborhood without a grocery store, but I have a bike and a car at my disposal, not to mention money to pay for groceries. I don’t have children to care for. I do work a lot but I’m compensated fairly for it. But still, there’s no recipe today because I ran out of time. Between an intense week at work and back-to-back evening obligations I managed to cook a pot of beans, but I didn’t manage to turn them into the soup I’d planned to make. I am blessed to have a refrigerator with leftovers and other odds and ends so I didn’t go hungry or to McDonald’s
Food Banks are a necessary part of the equation, but they aren't the only answer. The San Francisco Food bank is unique in that it has many highly accessible pantries scattered around the city. And they provide way more nutritious fruits and vegetables than most food banks. What we need are localized community food systems. But more about that another time.