Food bank

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thumb|Volunteers pass out food items from a

A food bank or foodbank is a non-profit, charitable organization that distributes mostly donated food to a wide variety of agencies that in turn feed the hungry. The largest sources of food are for-profit growers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers who in the normal course of business have excess food that they cannot sell. After sorting and inventory, a food bank distributes the food to 100 to 1,000 non-profit community or government agencies, including but not limited to food pantries,
soup kitchens, homeless shelters, orphanages, and schools.

Standard model

With thousands of food banks on six continents there are many different models. However there are some elements that food banks share.

There is typically one food bank in a city which runs a centralized warehouse. Like a blood bank, that warehouse serves as a single collection and distribution point for food donations. A food bank operates a lot like a for-profit food distributor, but in this case it distributes food to charities not to food retailers.

The largest portion of donated food comes from food leftover from the normal processes of for-profit companies. This food can come from any part of the food chain, e.g. from growers who have produced too much or whose food is not visual appealing enough, from manufacturers who overproduced, or from retailers who over-ordered. Often the product is approaching or past its "expiration", "sell by" or......
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