Last week, something happened that made us realize how important it is to talk about trust. WSB TV ran an undercover story about a “food bank” in Henry County mishandling donations. Of course, it wasn't the Atlanta Community Food Bank, nor was it one of our partner agencies. But we received a lot of questions from supporters and friends during the week prior to the story airing on Thursday. 

The report showed footage of donated food intended for the hungry being served up to fans at NASCAR races. WSB’s Facebook page was filled with comments from people who were upset by the news, and several said it affected their trust and they would be inclined to think twice before giving.

It’s unfortunate when things like this happen, and we hope people won’t become so cynical that they stop giving altogether. But we do think it isn’t such a bad idea to “think twice”.

The holiday season is almost upon us - it's that time of year when people tend to give to charities more than usual. When you're donating your hard-earned money, you want to know you can trust your gift is in good hands. There are several ways to go about the task of deciding which organizations will receive your funds.  Ask people you trust about the organizations they give to. When you find one or more that fit your interests, you might even go so far as to ask if they would give you a tour. (Just be sure to call ahead!)  Finally, check whether the organization is listed on Charity Navigator and what rating they have. You can feel confident with agencies that rate 3-4 stars. The Atlanta Community Food Bank currently has a 4-star rating which gives us high marks on how we handle finances, as well as how accountable and transparent we are about those finances.

While the numbers are important, values are too. Sometimes an organization’s values are a little harder to measure. We would like to assure our donors that integrity is one of our highest values. We take the handling of our food and monetary donations very seriously - we hold ourselves and our partner agencies accountable with stringent policies regarding the distribution of food. We will continue to do everything we can to gain and sustain the trust and support that the larger community has given us since we began our work in 1979.

Visit Charity Navigator to learn more about the Atlanta Community Food Bank’s rating and those of other organizations. The Atlanta Community Food Bank is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit with the IRS and a member of Feeding America, the nation's network of more than 200 food banks.