Food banks are a valuable community resource for those in urgent need of temporary assistance. Many people among us want to extend support those in need. Managing community efforts to help with donations in kind is a welcome challenge for food banks – tasked with sifting through concrete efforts to help others. This underscores the very best of ourselves living communally.
For those wishing to give effectively, consider these points. Generally, think about efficiency and space. Food pantries have limited storage space – so giving necessary items that will turn over quickly is a terrific thing to do. Don’t forget non-food items that are absolutely necessary – pantries accept these things as well.
Here are some specific ideas.
- Food banks need canned meat. Food banks can almost always use canned meat. Many report a surplus of things like tuna fish or soup – so consider items like ham, beef, or salmon.
- Food banks need canned vegetables. Food banks can almost always use canned vegetables. They report a surplus of items like beans – so consider canned peas, carrots, or beans.
- Food banks need canned fruit. Food banks can almost always use canned fruit. They report a surplus of canned pineapple. So think twice on the pineapple. Consider instead fruits canned without excess sugar. Dried fruit – such as raisins, apricots, dates – is also extremely useful.
- Meals ready to eat that require only water to prepare. Mixes that require an additional key ingredient (such as meat) tend not to be useful – and can end up taking up valuable space.
- Non-sugary cereals. Cereals that are actually healthy are hugely helpful to families in need.
- Peanut Butter. Other nut butters as well. Protein laden and delicious.
- Instant Cereal. Instant oatmeal, instant cereals that require only water to prepare.
- Pasta. Pasta and pasta sauce are a delicious, quick and easy dinner for a family.
- Evaporated Milk. Cans, cartons, boxed evaporated milk is always very useful.
- Healthy snacks for kids. Snacks for kids to bring to school – apple sauce, granola bars, etc.
- Toiletries. These are a necessity for personal use – and often a budget buster for people trying to attain more economic flexibility. Help them to bust out of the catch-22.
- Baby supplies. Another budget buster. Diapers, wipes – always gone fast.
- Sliced Bread. Bread lasts a good long time and is always snapped right up.
- Kitchen staples. Salt, pepper, spices. Hard to cook without and often inadvertently neglected by generous donors.
- Chocolate. Some would argue that chocolate is not a necessity. Others (yours truly) would argue otherwise.
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