Tracy over at Nest Full Of New emailed to let me know that she worked up a phenomenal list of supplies that are perfect for donating to your local food bank, shelter, church pantry or any local community organization that collects food for those in need.
As this is a time to be thankful for all that we have, it's also a good time to give to those who may not be as fortunate.
Take it away Tracy...
First, some of these items aren’t what many might consider essentials, making them in short supply, but truly important:
- Spices – salt, pepper, cinnamon, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sugar, vanilla, etc.
- Holiday items – canned sweet potatoes, marshmallows, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, canned pumpkin
- Feminine Products – in HIGH demand. “Time of the Month” donation drives are on the rise.
- Chocolate or hot cocoa mix – a little luxury that is hard to come by, but works wonders for the spirit!
- Toiletries – toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, soap, shampoo, etc.
- Condiments – mayo, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc.
- Canned meats and jerky
- Crackers and tortillas – long shelf life
- Baby toiletries
- Low-sugar or sugar-free items – diabetes is common.
- Socks – another high demand item
- Baby food, baby cereal, baby formula
- Canned or powdered milk, shelf-stable milk – think about almond, rice or goat’s milk, too.
- “Just add water” cake or brownie mix – kids’ birthdays don’t stop just because their family is struggling.
- Cooking oils
- Instant coffee and powdered cream
- Snacks for kids – juice boxes, granola bars, fruit snacks, goldfish or animal crackers, applesauce or fruit cups.
- Bags of produce like oranges, apples, carrots, onions and potatoes have a long shelf life and are good for donating.
The “usual suspects” still apply, too –
- Peanut butter and jelly
- Canned meat –like ham, chicken, salmon, etc.
- Canned veggies (other than green beans) and fruit (other than pineapple)
- Cereal/instant oatmeal/instant grits
- Spaghetti and pasta sauce (try to donate these in pairs – it’s easier to use one if you have the other!)
- Tuna and Tuna Helper (like pasta and sauce, these should come together, too.)
- Rice/Rice mixes – the “heat and eat” type rices are especially thoughtful.
- Canned and dried beans
- Biscuit or baking mix that only require water
- Juice (100% juice in plastic bottles)
- Complete meals in cans – soup, stew, chili, pasta
- Macaroni and cheese
- Can openers are always welcome. Not everything has a pop top, yet!
Breads, while they have a short shelf life, always go super fast, as will fresh produce if you have a bumper crop that you can share. Some food pantries also have the ability to store cold and/or frozen foods. Just give yours a call.
While they may be more expensive, donating healthier foods like whole wheat pasta, low sugar cereals and low sodium soups are much appreciated. Gluten- and dairy-free options are nice for the food banks to have on hand for those special populations, too.
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