Q:

Who started the idea of food banks?

A:

Quick Answer

The idea of a food bank was started by John Van Hengel in 1967 in Phoenix, Arizona. He was a volunteer serving dinner to the needy at St. Vincent De Paul. He founded St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, the world's first food bank.

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Full Answer

The concept of a food bank was born when a needy mother said that the only way she was able to feed her children was through grocery dumpsters and soup kitchens. Individuals and companies with excess food would take food to the organization, and it was given to poor. St. Mary's Basilica, which Van Hengel named the food bank after, supported his vision through a donation of $3,000 and an abandoned building.

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