Hunger Definitions

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a condition in which people do not get enough food to provide the nutrients for active and healthy lives. It can result from the recurrent and involuntary lack of access to food. Severe hunger exists in households when children go hungry or adults experience prolonged or acute hunger. (1)


Food Insecurity:

When the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods, or the ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways, is limited or uncertain.


Food Pantry:

a nonprofit organization that distributes food and other grocery products to needy clients who then prepare and use these items where they live.

Soup Kitchen

a place that serves prepared meals free-of-charge to individuals and families in need.


Food Rescue Organization:

A charitable organization that solicits, receives and distributes donated surplus prepared and perishable foods, grocery and non-perishable foods, and non-grocery products to various types of non-profit human services agencies, which, in turn, provide the food to individuals and families served by their programs. The primary methods of distribution are through the use of volunteers, including direct delivery and centralized distributions. (2)


Food Bank:

A charitable organization that solicits, receives, inventories, and stores donated food and grocery and non-perishable food products. These products are distributed to non-profit human services agencies, which, in turn, provide the food to individuals and families served by their programs. The primary method of distribution allows agencies to pre-order and schedule either pick-ups or deliveries. (2)


Member Agency:

A community-based non-profit human services agency that meets selected criteria for membership and has a need for supplemental food to support its social services programs. Examples include soup kitchens, food pantries, emergency feeding programs, community residences for disabled adults and children, and day programs for children and seniors.


Food Donor:

Commercial food establishment, such as catering facility, restaurant, food supplier/wholesaler, retail food chain or local farm that donated surplus food to program. In addition, non-perishable canned and packaged foods are donated through collection campaigns organized by companies, schools, and civic groups.



A trained and dedicated individual or team member that “rescues” the food by picking up from a commercial donor and delivery it to a member agency. Hundreds of individual and corporate team food runs take place each week. Volunteers also devote time and skills to special events, Speakers’ Bureau, helping with administrative needs in the office, and so much more.
Good Samaritan Laws:

“Good Samaritan” laws protect food donors from liability so long as negligence or bad faith are not evident. (2) Further Information