Social distancing has caused NCWBA to cancel its Food from the Bar planned day of service at local Feeding America food banks, and has required postponement of many aspects of Food from the Bar 2020 campaigns (e.g., volunteer experiences, food donation campaigns). The disruption created by the COVID-19 pandemic has placed many vulnerable members of our communities, particularly children who are reliant on federally subsidized meals served through public school systems, at increased risk of hunger. Food banks are facing unprecedented challenges in meeting increased needs while coping with decreased volunteerism and skeleton staffs, who are putting their own health potentially in jeopardy by continuing to work on the front lines.
What can women’s bar associations do to help? Even if there is no Food from the Bar campaign in your city, or your Food from the Bar campaign has been postponed, your members can still support your local Feeding America food banks. Even if stay-at-home restrictions prevent you from volunteering or hosting fund-raising events or donating food, you can still support the food banks through monetary donations and other gestures of support. Virtually all food banks are set up for online giving. Here are a few ideas on how you can continue to support Food from the Bar campaigns and local food banks from the comfort of your home:
- Have a “virtual” day of service – i.e., pick a day and challenge your members and others in the legal community to make some monetary donation on that day, and then report on number of participants and amount raised. Engage your children to make posters to be circulated as online to publicize this “virtual day of service.”
- Invite a food bank representative to speak to your members at a Zoom virtual meeting.
- Host a Zoom virtual cocktail hour where the “price of admission” is a monetary donation to the local food bank.
- Write a letter of support and thanks to food bank administration and personnel.
- Issue a challenge to your members pegged to a donation to the food bank, e.g., “I’ll donate $10 to the food bank for every person who sends me a picture of them from their high school prom.”
- Ask your members or law firms to donate to the food bank the monies they otherwise would have spent on lunches and snacks if they had not been working remotely.
- Publicize in your newsletter or email blast the online donation link to your local food bank and its address to which checks should be sent.
Any other ideas or success stories in supporting Food from the Bar remotely or virtually? Please share! In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy and grateful for knowing where your next meal is coming from. If you have any questions or would like further information, please reach out to NCWBA Food from the Bar liaison, Kathleen M. McDowell.
Food from the Bar is a grass-roots campaign started by lawyers to fight hunger among children in our communities. It consists of a month-long friendly competition in the spring among law firms and legal offices in which participants contribute money, donate food, and/or volunteer time sorting and packing food at the local food banks in their communities. The campaign can be held at any time that suits the needs of the local community. NCWBA has been a leading supporter of Food from the Bar. Food from the Bar programs are already running in many communities (including the District of Columbia and cities in Alabama, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire and Texas) and are expanding to more communities every year. The Food from the Bar program replenishes food bank supplies to meet the increased need for food during the summer months. When schools close for the summer, thousands of children are not able to access school breakfast and lunch programs, a critical source of nutrition.
For more information about what you can do to help, click on the links below.
Click here for a video clip that explains the impact of Food from the Bar campaigns.
Click here for a “how to” guide with some great fundraising ideas.
Click here for a sample press release.
For more information about setting up or joining a Food from the Bar campaign in your community, contact Kathleen M. McDowell, [email protected], 213-683-9134.