Hunger Terms and Definitions

Backpack Program

A Feeding America program adopted by Food Bank for Westchester that provides food-insecure children with bags of food to take home for the weekend. Most food-insecure children receive food and meals while in school; it is when school is not in session, on weekends and school holidays, that these children suffer from hunger and/or food insecurity. The BackPack Program targets these children and provides foods for those at-risk times. Because the foods are likely shared with siblings and other family members, the foods provided can be easily prepared and shared.

Food Pantry, Choice Pantry

A program or agency that provides food and groceries for clients to take home. Most are set up like a grocery store with shelves of food and, often, a large refrigerator and/or freezer A choice pantry allows the client to choose what items to select and take home. The client can select a specific number of items from each food group; the larger the family, the more items from each food group are allowed.

Feeding America

Based in Chicago, Feeding America is the national food bank network, with member food banks -- including Food Bank for Westchester -- around the country. Each member food bank provides food to local hunger-relief programs within its service area. For information:

Food Bank

A not-for-profit organization that acquires foods in bulk through donation and purchase and then repackages those foods for distribution to its member programs/agencies within its service area. Food Bank "members" are front-line hunger-relief agencies or programs that serve prepared meals or give food directly to clients to take home. A food bank solicits, receives, inventories, and distributes donated and purchased grocery products to its members, adhering to grocery industry and other regulatory standards.

Food Bank Network

The network of national, state and/or local food banks and hunger-relief programs that address the needs of hungry people.

Food Drive

An initiative to acquire foods for donation to a food bank or local hunger-relief program. Many businesses and religious institutions hold food drives, and food banks depend on these donations. Ideal food drive items are: tuna (canned or pouched); whole-grain cereals and instant oatmeal; peanut butter; canned stews, soups, chili, and pasta; canned fruits and vegetables; pasta and boxed macaroni-and-cheese dinners; rice; milk (shelf-stable baxed or powdered); 100% fruit juice in boxes, cans or plastic.

Food Insecure

When a person lacks consistent access to enough nutritionally adequate food for an active, healthy life.

Food Insecurity

USDA’s measure of lack of access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members; limited to uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. 

Food Insecurity with Hunger

An involuntary and undesirable state that results from not being able to afford enough food. 

Food Pantry

A charitable organization that solicits, receives, inventories, and distributes donated and purchased grocery products for home preparation and consumption.

Food Recovery or Food Rescue Program

A charitable organization or a program of a food bank that collects prepared and perishable foods that would otherwise be discarded from sites such as supermarkets, restaurants, caterers and hotels pursuant to local health department and/or appropriate regulatory standards. The food is distributed to charitable human service agencies, which provide food to needy clients through various types of programs. 


The urgent need for food. Children who are hungry can suffer life-long consequences since their brains and bodies are developing and need the fuel of food to grow and thrive. Children and adults can suffer from various diseases from lack of food or certain foods.

Kids Cafe

A Feeding America program where children are given hot meals and snacks after school. The Food Bank for Westchester has Kids Cafes at 8 sites and provides nutrition-education activities with the meals.

Member Program or Agency

A charitable organization, food pantry, soup kitchen, residence or other agency/program that receives food from the local food bank and then provides that food and/or prepared meals directly to hungry people.


The charitable agency/organization program that provides the food supplied by the food bank directly to clients in need of food.

Rapid Distribution

The means of getting refrigerated and frozen goods to food insecure and hungry people quickly before food spoilage occurs.


(Emergency Shelter, Homeless Shelter) a charitable program whose primary purpose is to provide shelter or housing on a short- term or temporary basis to needy clients and typically serves one or more meals a day.


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps, that helps eligible individuals and families purchase food.

Soup Kitchen or Kitchen

(Also: Community Dining Room) A charitable program whose primary purpose is to provide prepared meals, served at the kitchen, or delivered to the home, for clients in need.  


The Emergency Food Assistance Program. Federal dollars are allocated to cover the cost of warehousing and distributing USDA commodities.


United States Department of Agriculture.

Food Bank for Westchester is registered as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law, Tax ID: 13-3507988

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