’s “Fuel Your Food Bank” Contest Lets Facebook Fans Choose a Charity

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Hunger is a year-round problem, but December is a cruel month for those with bare cupboards. has pledged cash contributions to local food banks selected by Facebook fans who vote in its “Fuel Your Food Bank” contest throughout December.

A food bank can turn (cash) donations into thousands of meals. We hope that people will contact their friends to drum up support for the work that's being done in their neighborhoods.

Last year 5.6 million U.S. households used community food banks at least once, says the Feeding America network. These organizations welcome donations of time, food and, above all, cash. has announced it will donate $2,000 to local food banks: $1,000 to a major metropolitan-area food bank, and $500 each to two food banks serving smaller population centers.

The website began hosting the “Fuel Your Food Bank” campaign on its Facebook page on Dec. 1, where a “like” for allows supporters to vote for their favorite food bank. Voting ends Dec. 31.

In early January 2012, will tally votes and send checks to the food banks in each category with the most votes.

“Cash gives food banks the chance to buy fresh foods or the foods no one donates, or to take advantage of a quick opportunity at the wholesale level,” says Des Toups, senior managing editor for “A food bank can turn these donations into thousands of meals.” Food banks can stretch every dollar by working with food brokers, using volunteer labor and buying in bulk. Feeding America says it can supply 800 meals for a donation of $100.

“We hope that people will contact their friends to drum up support for the work that’s being done in their neighborhoods,” Toups says. “And simply knowing where the food bank is and how it operates might encourage more support throughout the year.”

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