Posts Tagged by food bank

Food Pantry Wish List – It’s Not Just About Green Beans and Pineapple!

Best things to donate to a food pantry.While food pantries need our support all year long, this is the time of year that many people thing about donating. At work, we collect for our food pantry several times a year, and I wanted to share a wish list of things that are really needed.

First, some of these items aren’t what many might consider essentials, making them in short supply, but truly important:

1.       Spices – salt, pepper, cinnamon, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sugar, vanilla, etc.

2.       Holiday items – canned sweet potatoes, marshmallows, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix, canned pumpkin

3.       Feminine Products – in HIGH demand. “Time of the Month” donation drives are on the rise. Consider buying in bulk to donate.

4.       Chocolate or hot cocoa mix – a little luxury that is hard to come by, but works wonders for the spirit!

5.       Toiletries – toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, soap, shampoo, etc.

6.       Condiments – mayo, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc.

7.       Canned meats and jerky

8.       Flour

9.       Crackers and tortillas – long shelf life

10.   Baby toiletries like powder, shampoo and diaper cream.

11.   Low-sugar or sugar-free items – diabetes is common.

12.   Socks – another high demand item

13.   Baby food, baby cereal, baby formula

14.   Canned or powdered milk, shelf-stable milk – think about almond, rice or goat’s milk, too.

15.   “Just add water” cake or brownie mix – kids’ birthdays don’t stop just because their family is struggling.

16.   Cooking oils

17.   Instant coffee and powdered cream

18.   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 –

1.       Peanut butter and jelly

2.       Canned meat –like ham, chicken, salmon, etc.

3.       Canned veggies (other than green beans) and fruit (other than pineapple)

4.       Cereal/instant oatmeal/instant grits

5.       Spaghetti and pasta sauce (try to donate these in pairs – it’s easier to use one if you have the other!)

6.       Tuna and Tuna Helper (like pasta and sauce, these should come together, too.)

7.       Rice/Rice mixes – the “heat and eat” type rices are especially thoughtful.

8.       Canned and dried beans

9.       Biscuit or baking mix that only require water

10.     Juice (100% juice in plastic bottles)

11.      Complete meals in cans – soup, stew, chili, pasta

12.      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.

I hope you’ll print this list and share it with your friends. If you find a great deal while out shopping, let us know! Even better, why not donate the money you save using coupons? A food pantry can stretch those dollars far beyond what we can.