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5 Ways to Get Involved in Supporting Hunger Relief

Copenhagen 5&5 Charity Food Drive

Think about the last meal you had. Did you feel full and satisfied afterward? Was it nutritionally adequate to support your body’s needs? Now think about your next meal. Do you know where it will be coming from? Can you afford it without sacrificing other necessities? For many in our communities, hunger and food insecurity constitute an ongoing struggle. According to Feeding America, 34 million Americans experienced food insecurity in 2021, and 100% of US counties have some level of food insecurity.

While they may sound like the same thing, hunger and food insecurity are similar but not identical – the former refers to the physical feeling of not having enough food, while the latter is “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.”

Fortunately, there are many organizations and businesses working together to tackle hunger and food insecurity in our communities. Twice yearly, Copenhagen partners with local food banks – St Mary’s Food Bank, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Central Texas Food Bank, San Antonio Food Bank, and El Pasoans Fighting Hunger – for fundraisers and food drives that support hunger relief.

In 2022, Copenhagen held its first-ever Charity Food Drive, and Jorgen Hansen, CFO and owner of Copenhagen, was very happy with how it turned out. “We exceeded our donation goals and had so much support from our customers,” he says. Copenhagen raised a total of $100,000 to support the five food banks listed above, surpassing its goal of $90,000.

“The whole community came together to support hunger relief,” Hansen adds, “from our marketing team who created content to raise awareness, to local media partners and our employees that volunteered. A big part of our goal is to help educate people about the food bank’s programming and their role in our community, and we are always excited to be a part of that.”

Each of us can also support hunger relief as an individual. Read on to learn five simple steps you can take to alleviate hunger and food insecurity in our communities.

1. Learn about hunger in your community

Someone you know may be struggling with hunger, such as a neighbor, a coworker, or a classmate of your child. According to the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, 1 in 9 people in Arizona faces hunger in 2023. When it comes to children, these numbers are higher, with 1 in 6 Arizonan kids struggling with hunger and the state having the 14th highest rate of childhood hunger in the US last year.

Texas faces a similar situation, with 1 in 8 people – and 1 in 5 kids – experiencing hunger. Translated to raw numbers, this equates to about 2.3 million adults and 1.4 million children in Texas who aren’t receiving the nutrition they need to live their lives to the fullest.

A survey done by Feeding America revealed that, across the country, the majority of people experiencing hunger have had to choose between food and other basic needs such as utilities, transportation, medical care, or housing. Of those surveyed, about 4 in 5 relied to some extent on purchasing inexpensive, unhealthy foods to make ends meet.

Now that you know the facts about hunger, decide how you want to take action.

2. Donate food

Consider donating non-perishable foods to your local food bank. Commonly requested products include peanut butter, rice, pasta, cereal, powdered milk, and canned foods such as soups, beans, vegetables, fruits, and protein. Depending on the food bank, you may also be able to donate fresh produce, pet food, baby food, and diapers.

Your local food bank may also run programs that accept items unique to your region. For instance, many of us in the Southwest grow citrus – and St Mary’s Food Bank and the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona accept donations of surplus citrus during the winter and spring. Meanwhile, the San Antonio Food Bank offers a unique program in which hunters can donate legally tagged, field-dressed game to help fight hunger.

3. Donate what you can

If you don’t happen to have spare non-perishables, consider donating money – even a small amount can go a long way. The El Pasoans Fighting Hunger website explains, “We can stretch a dollar a lot further than someone can at a grocery store buying food because of our national and state-wide food sourcing partnerships and bulk orders.”

As part of its Spring Charity Food Drive in 2022, Copenhagen raised $100,000 for five food banks in Arizona and Texas, amounting to 601,000 meals for those in need. $35,000 specifically went to St. Mary’s Food Bank, which equated to 245,000 meals at only about 14 cents per meal!

4. Volunteer at a food bank

Volunteering is another fantastic way to join the fight against hunger. Food banks often rely on volunteers to perform essential tasks like inspecting, sorting, packing, and distributing food. Many food banks also have volunteers prepare and serve meals in their community kitchens, tend their gardens or farms, and help out with administrative duties in their offices.

Last year, employees across all Copenhagen locations volunteered at local food banks to inspect food and assemble packages for distribution. Jacki McKee, COO and General Manager of Copenhagen, says, “I support several charities, including St. Mary’s Food Bank, but last year was the first time I ever donated my time to help sort donations. It was a great feeling and I look forward to doing it again this year!”

5. Spread the word

Encourage those around you to be part of the effort to reduce hunger and food insecurity. For instance, share posts on social media or discuss these issues with people you know. You can also write to your representatives in Congress and tell them to support initiatives that combat food insecurity – Feeding America has a list of policy recommendations for those who want to fight hunger on a legislative level.

If you plan to volunteer at a food bank, encourage friends, family, or coworkers to join you so you can maximize your impact. Ask local busineses to consider participating in a food drive, or – if you own a business – consider a yearly drive or special promotion with proceeds that benefit hunger relief.

Jacki McKee says, “I am proud to work for a company that works with and supports our local communities. Copenhagen is a retail furniture store that imports our products from all over the world, but we never lose sight of those in our immediate community.”

This year, Copenhagen is excited to hold its second-ever Spring Charity Food Drive. From April 1st-23rd, 2023, we will be offering a 5% discount on in-store and online purchases, as well as donating 5% of all sales to St Mary’s Food Bank, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Central Texas Food Bank, San Antonio Food Bank, and El Pasoans Fighting Hunger to reach a fundraising goal of $90,000. Copenhagen will also encourage customers to contribute food or monetary donations to these food banks for a chance to win a special prize. Jorgen Hansen explains, “Together with Stressless® of Norway, we’ll be doing a grand prize drawing in each of our seven showrooms where one donor will win a Stressless® Consul Chair and Ottoman.”

Imagine a society where no one goes to bed hungry or has to choose between food and medical care. By working together and uniting individuals, communities, businesses, and government under a common goal, we can reduce or eliminate hunger and food insecurity to make this vision a reality.