How $1 becomes 4 meals

By Zan McColloch-Lussier

It almost seems unbelievable, and yet it’s true.

When you hear that Food Lifeline can provide 4 meals to a person in need for only $1 you might think, ‘Wow, that’s great!’ quickly followed by, ‘Wait, how do they do that?’ Here’s the secret.

Ninety-five percent of the food that Food Lifeline distributes is donated by grocery stores, distributors, farmers, the USDA and others in the food industry. Combined with the small amount of food we purchase (these are the must haves that our agencies count on) this added up to over 36 million pounds of food last fiscal year.

The USDA tells us that it takes 1.2 pounds of food to equal one meal. That means that these 36 million pounds of food are the equivalent of 30 million meals. But what did it cost us to bring such largess to people in need? During that same year Food Lifeline’s expenses were $6.9 million dollars.

Let’s let the math take it from here:

30 Million meals / $6.9 million spent = 4.35 meals per dollar spent.

Now you can say ‘Wow, that’s great!’ all over again and tell your friends how your contributions to Food Lifeline are doing more to feed people in need.