Special Report

The Highest-Rated Food Banks in America

Courtesy of The Idaho Foodbank via Facebook

In 2021, nearly 34 million Americans, including 9 million children, were food insecure, with many relying on charities to feed themselves and their families. This year, thanks to the worst inflation in nearly 40 years, the number of people who are food insecure likely rose even higher. And during the holidays, many will  turn to their local food pantries. (Also see, the city with the highest child poverty rate in every state.)

For those who are fortunate enough to afford charitable donations during the season of giving – and time of elevated food insecurity – food banks are a great cause to give to. Food banks and pantries take in and store food donations from individuals, manufacturers, and restaurants and then distribute meals and groceries to those in need. However, according to one of the world’s leading evaluators of philanthropic organizations, not every food bank is created equal. 

To find the highest-rated food banks in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed food bank ratings by Charity Navigator, an organization that evaluates charitable organizations. Charity Navigator scored more than 2,300 food banks based on four categories: 1. Impact and results, 2. Accountability and finance, 3. Culture and community, and 4. Leadership and adaptability. 

The 35 Food Banks listed received a score of 98% or higher. We broke ties using the share of annual spending that goes directly toward the programs that are the primary purpose of the organization. We only considered food banks that are 501(c)(3) organizations, had annual spending of at least $500,000 in the most recent fiscal year, and those that had been scored in all four categories. 

The 35 food banks on this list can be found in 22 states across the country, and they range from medium-sized, such as Community Food Bank of Citrus County Inc, with fiscal year spending of less than $1 million, to massive food banks with many partnered food pantries, such as Midwest Food Bank, NFP, which spent $392 million last fiscal year and distributed to nearly 500 partners across 50 counties in the state. (These are 50 cities with huge populations living on food stamps.)

Regardless of the size, one thing all these food banks have in common is relatively little wasted donations. On its methodology page, Charity Navigator explains: “While administration expenses are necessary for efficient charity operations, organizations that grossly underspend on their programs and services will most likely not have as strong an impact on their charitable missions.” 

Reviewing lower-scoring food banks, there are plenty with program expense ratios of less than 50% of total spending, with a disproportionate share of expenses going toward executive salaries and other administrative expenses. In opposition to that, the vast majority of the charities on this list have well above 90% of spending going directly to their primary purpose — getting food to those in need.

Click here to see the highest-rated food banks in America.

Source: SDI Productions / E+ via Getty Images

35. Community Food Bank of Citrus County Inc.
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 86.9%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $743,815
> Location: Homosassa, FL

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Source: Courtesy of HOPE Villages of America via Facebook

34. Religious Community Services
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 88.9%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $8,649,433
> Location: Clearwater, FL

Source: Courtesy of Franklin Food Pantry via Facebook

33. Franklin Food Pantry Incorporated
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 90.4%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $660,004
> Location: Franklin, MA

Source: Courtesy of Committee on Church Cooperation via Facebook

32. Community Cooperative
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 91.4%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $3,295,345
> Location: Fort Myers, FL

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Source: Courtesy of Long Island Cares via Facebook

31. Long Island Cares
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 91.8%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $17,777,914
> Location: Hauppauge, NY

Source: Courtesy of Manna Food Center via Facebook

30. Manna Food Center
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 93.0%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $7,021,833
> Location: Silver Spring, MD

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Source: Courtesy of Community Food Share via Facebook

29. Community Food Share
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 95.2%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $26,331,445
> Location: Louisville, CO

Source: Courtesy of Forgotten Harvest via Facebook

28. Forgotten Harvest
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 95.7%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $80,564,940
> Location: Oak Park, MI

Source: Courtesy of Facing Hunger Foodbank via Facebook

27. Facing Hunger
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 95.8%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $12,772,292
> Location: Huntington, WV

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Source: Courtesy of Brazos Valley Food Bank via Facebook

26. Brazos Valley Food Bank
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 95.9%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $11,502,250
> Location: Bryan, TX

Source: Courtesy of Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma via Facebook

25. Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 96.1%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $78,775,543
> Location: Oklahoma City, OK

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Source: Courtesy of Second Harvest Food Bank - Feeding South Louisiana via Facebook

24. Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 96.1%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $87,158,287
> Location: New Orleans, LA

Source: Courtesy of Virginia Peninsula Foodbank via Facebook

23. Virginia Peninsula Foodbank
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 96.3%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $19,227,370
> Location: Hampton, VA

Source: Courtesy of Northern Illinois Food Bank via Facebook

22. Northern Illinois Food Bank
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 96.6%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $187,652,738
> Location: Geneva, IL

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Source: Courtesy of Harvesters - The Community Food Network via Facebook

21. Harvesters: The Community Food Network
> Charity Navigator Score: 98%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 96.8%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $122,462,147
> Location: Kansas City, MO

Source: Courtesy of Somerville Homeless Coalition via Facebook

20. Somerville Homeless Coalition Incorporated
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 81.0%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $1,980,230
> Location: Somerville, MA

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Source: Courtesy of Loaves & Fishes/Friendship Trays via Facebook

19. Loaves & Fishes, Charlotte
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 85.8%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $4,991,237
> Location: Charlotte, NC

Source: Courtesy of The Action Center via Facebook

18. The Action Center
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 90.7%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $10,095,893
> Location: Lakewood, CO

Source: Courtesy of Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank via Facebook

17. Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 92.8%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $44,770,582
> Location: Akron, OH

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Source: Courtesy of The Idaho Foodbank via Facebook

16. Idaho Foodbank
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 94.6%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $34,990,646
> Location: Meridian, ID

Source: Courtesy of St. Mary's Food Bank via Facebook

15. St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 95.4%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $172,161,380
> Location: Phoenix, AZ

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Source: Courtesy of MANNA FoodBank via Facebook

14. MANNA FoodBank
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 95.6%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $30,428,645
> Location: Asheville, NC

Source: Courtesy of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Inc. via Facebook

13. Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 95.6%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $75,864,060
> Location: Indianapolis, IN

Source: Courtesy of Blue Ridge Area Food Bank via Facebook

12. Blue Ridge Area Food Bank
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 95.8%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $48,217,351
> Location: Verona, VA

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Source: Courtesy of River Bend Food Bank via Facebook

11. River Bend Food Bank
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 96.4%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $40,565,268
> Location: Davenport, IA

Source: Courtesy of Operation Food Search via Facebook

10. Operation Food Search
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 97.2%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $34,454,401
> Location: St. Louis, MO

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Source: Courtesy of San Antonio Food Bank via Facebook

9. San Antonio Food Bank
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 97.3%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $154,426,390
> Location: San Antonio, TX

Source: Courtesy of Table To Table via Facebook

8. Table To Table Inc
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 98.7%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $51,192,013
> Location: Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

Source: Courtesy of Midwest Food Bank via Facebook

7. Midwest Food Bank, NFP
> Charity Navigator Score: 99%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 99.4%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $392,011,772
> Location: Normal, IL

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Source: Courtesy of Every Meal via Facebook

6. Every Meal
> Charity Navigator Score: 100%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 79.0%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $4,655,306
> Location: Roseville, MN

Source: Courtesy of Loudoun Hunger Relief via Facebook

5. Loudoun Hunger Relief
> Charity Navigator Score: 100%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 95.5%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $3,625,586
> Location: Leesburg, VA

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Source: Courtesy of Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio via Facebook

4. Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio
> Charity Navigator Score: 100%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 96.0%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $19,974,070
> Location: Lorain, OH

Source: Courtesy of Ozarks Food Harvest via Facebook

3. Ozarks Food Harvest
> Charity Navigator Score: 100%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 96.9%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $49,348,728
> Location: Springfield, MO

Source: Courtesy of Feeding the Gulf Coast via Facebook

2. Feeding the Gulf Coast
> Charity Navigator Score: 100%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 97.4%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $53,575,783
> Location: Theodore, AL

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Source: Courtesy of Farm Share Inc. via Facebook

1. Farm Share Inc.
> Charity Navigator Score: 100%
> Share of spending going toward mission programs: 99.6%
> Spending, most recent fiscal year: $188,862,891
> Location: Homestead, FL

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