Moving? Food Banks Can Help Empty Your Pantry

Tom Lange
Written by Tom Lange
Updated July 17, 2015
Move for Hunger Box with food
Move for Hunger partners with several moving companies to donate nonperishable food to food banks. (Photo by Frank Espich)

Before you throw canned and dry goods away, know that food pantries will gladly take them off your hands.

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As you pack your house in preparation for moving day, take a minute to think about your cabinets and cupboards, and what you plan to do with the food inside them.

Chances are, remnants from last month’s trip to the grocery store won’t be the first items loaded into the moving van. It can be tempting to simply throw away canned and dry goods instead of packing and moving them.

But food pantries would love to have what’s in your cupboards so they can continue feeding the people who depend on their stocks. The same is true for clothes and furniture, provided the items are usable and not trash.

It’s why Adam Lowy founded Move for Hunger six years ago in Neptune City, New Jersey. Move for Hunger works with more than 600 moving companies across the U.S. and Canada to pick up nonperishable food and take it to food banks.

“Hunger isn’t just this third world problem, it affects everyone,” Lowy says. “When you give people the opportunity to do something good and you make it easy for them, people will.”

A Different Kind of Mover

Lowy’s family has worked in the moving industry for 90 years, but Lowy never had any intention of continuing the legacy, at least not in the traditional sense. He went to college and got a job in marketing, coordinating golf outings.

One day while talking shop with his father, the conversation turned to food. Both men had seen how much food some of their clients left behind, and they wondered what would happen if they asked to take the nonperishable items to a food pantry.

“This started as nothing more than an idea,” he says.

The pair started asking for donations, and within a month, they delivered 300 pounds of food to a donation center in New Jersey.

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Lowy quit his marketing job and started Move for Hunger in 2009. Last year, he says they delivered about 1.8 million pounds of food, doubling the year before.

“The goal is, how do we get people to make these small changes in their lives,” Lowy says. “This is one simple step (people) can take that will actually have a really big impact.”

Making Moves On Your Own

Of course, you don’t have to wait for Move for Food or another nonprofit to contact you about donating food, furniture, clothing and other items before a move.

A quick web search can locate food pantries in your area. Other organizations, including Goodwill and the Salvation Army, accept clothes and furniture at some of their locations.

If you do opt to lighten your moving load by donating clothes or other items, make sure they’re free of personal or other identifying information – you don’t want to donate a desk that has an old bank book or your social security card tucked in the top drawer.

Also, be sure any clothes you donate are wearable, and furniture is usable.

While those items are leaving your home, they’re going into someone else’s.

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