What Is a Food Pantry?

Simply put, a food pantry is different than a food bank in that it provides food directly to those who may not have enough food to eat. Food banks distribute food to food pantries.

Food pantries can be either permanent locations or mobile distributions. Food pantries are often the only source of free healthy and nutritious food in a neighborhood, and they often provide other critical resources such as nutrition education, health screenings, seasonal food baskets and back to school supplies. A community food pantry’s mission is to directly serve local residents who suffer from hunger and food insecurity within a specified area.

The LSS Food Pantries rely heavily on organizations like the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to provide a steady supply of fresh produce, dairy products, meats and breads, along with a wide range of canned goods. A food bank is the storehouse for millions of pounds of food and other products that go out to the community and pantries. However, there is a nominal maintenance charge the food pantry must pay to the food bank to help offset the cost of handling and delivery, and a food bank does not typically provide assistance directly to the public.

The LSS Food Pantries supplement the food purchased from Mid-Ohio Foodbank with donations from local businesses, congregations and organizations, as well as purchases from wholesalers.


Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio is a United Way agency, a member of Lutheran Services in America and a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
Copyright © 2016 Lutheran Social Services. All Rights Reserved.

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