What’s the difference between a Food Bank and a Food Pantry?

Food banks and food pantries, what’s the difference?  

When new employees, volunteers, donors, and visitors arrive at our Hunger Relief Centers in South Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, and Roxborough, they’re often amazed by the size of our warehouses and the amount of food filling our shelves. They’re also pleasantly surprised to experience the well-oiled operation carried out each day, involving forklifts, pallets, semi-trucks, and a huge team of hard-working people who keep Philabundance running efficiently all year round.


Philabundance is part of Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S., and is a nationwide network of local food banks, food pantries, and community organizations who work together to end hunger by providing support and other essential resources to millions of people annually. Feeding America serves nearly every community in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico and includes 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries.


So what is the difference between a food bank and a food pantry? A food bank, like Philabundance, is a non-profit organization that safely collects and distributes millions of pounds of food that will be delivered to local food programs, like a food pantry. Food banks can be all different sizes. Some are very large – more than 25 of Feeding America’s food banks are double the size of an average wholesale club. Regardless of size, the items food banks store is donated from local neighbors, retailers, grocery stores, restaurants, and other various outlets.


To distribute the food to the nine counties we serve, Philabundance relies heavily on our remarkable transportation team who travel hundreds of a miles a day delivering much needed resources to our Community Partners. The Philabundance network is comprised of more than 350 local organizations, such as schools, senior centers, emergency kitchens, places of worship, community centers, healthcare facilities, and of course, food pantries, to give out healthy food to those who need it most.


The difference between a food bank and a food pantry is that pantries are distribution centers where hungry families and individuals can go to receive groceries. Supplied with the items food banks provide, pantries are able to feed hundreds of people in their respective communities per week. Thanks to our various Community Partners, Philabundance is able to provide quality, nutritious food to over 135,000 people weekly! To better understand the crucial work our partners carry out, you can read a recent blog on our website. You can also watch our video series highlighting some of our partners, including Bucks County Housing GroupCityTeam ChesterFamily PromiseMighty WritersMizpah Seventh-Day Adventist Church, and Ronald McDonald House Charities.

The Full Effect of Food Insecurity

Throughout September, Philabundance is recognizing Hunger Action Month, which is an annual nationwide campaign encouraging individuals to take action and…
Farm Bill 2023

Farm Bill 2023

WHAT IS THE FARM BILL?  The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that governs most federal food and…
"More Than Food" Mural Dedication

"More Than Food" Mural Dedication

Mural Arts Philadelphia, in partnership with Philabundance, is thrilled to announce the commission and installation of a new mural at…