Monday, November 27, 2023

Homeless Shelters Accepting Food Donations

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Mychelle has a MSW in Social Service Administration and she’s spent 20 years working in the non-profit sector.

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As your children get older, they’ll likely outgrow or become bored with many toys that are in perfectly good condition. Instead of throwing them away or leaving them in your closets to take up space and gather dust, consider sharing them with organizations that can help get them into the hands of youngsters who will greatly appreciate them and put them to good use.

What It’s Like To Volunteer At A Food Bank

Every volunteer experience is a little different. Here are some things you might do as a volunteer:

  • Sort and pack food: You can keep the shelves stocked by assembling food boxes for distribution.
  • Assist at mobile pantries, drive-thru pantries, and no-contact distributions: Help your neighbors feed their families.
  • Deliver meals: With many communities sheltering in place, you can help ensure our most vulnerable neighbors have the food they need while staying safe.
  • Glean and garden: Volunteers collect food left in the fields after harvest or help tend the food bank or food pantry’s community garden.
  • Volunteer from home: Some food banks have moved their volunteer shifts online and are asking volunteers to help fundraise or spread awareness.

Your safety is a top priority. The Feeding America network follows all Center for Disease Control and local guidelines for sanitation, hygiene, and social distancing to ensure staff and volunteers are safe. This may include masks, additional handwashing stations, gloves, reduced group sizes, and other safety precautions.

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Don’t Miss: St Vincent De Paul Food Bank Phoenix

Things Other Than Cash Donations That Homeless Shelters Can Use

If you have always wanted to help support homeless shelters, but you prefer to do it in a way other than donating money, here are other ways and ideas you can use to support the homeless shelters that serve your local community.

Linen Donations

Since homeless shelters provide temporary housing for people that do not have homes of their own, there is always a need for linens. Bed sheets, blankets, bath towels, face towels and washcloths. Homeless shelters may also have a demand for kitchen towels and other types of linen to help keep their facility clean.


In many cases, the people seeking refuge at homeless shelters may have a very limited wardrobe. A donation of clothing provides the homeless shelter you are helping to support the ability to offer their residents a clean shirt or outfit if they need one. Some homeless shelters are only available to offer overnight accommodations, so other clothing items that they could use include warm coats and jackets, gloves, mittens, scarves and hats so when their residents leave for the day, they have adequate clothing to keep them warm.

Personal Care Items

Volunteer Time

Keep in mind that any charity you are able to give could be the catalyst for someone to really turn their lives around, so don’t be afraid to give!

How To Donate Food To Homeless Shelters

ALS class collects food donations for local veterans, homeless shelters ...

Food is a welcome donation at many homeless shelters, as the need to feed individuals exists on a continual basis. While all shelters use food, the types of edible donations they accept varies from one organization and location to the next. Call in advance to ask a knowledgeable shelter representative whether they accept the types of foods you wish to donate and to get information regarding the proper time and method for getting the food to them.

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Potential Funding For Food Banks

Recycling Market Development Zone Loan Program. Food banks may qualify as a recycling manufacturer under the waste prevention category for CalRecycles Recycling Market Development Zone loan program. The loan can provide funding for working capital, daily operating expenses, equipment, such as trucks and refrigeration units, leasehold improvements, such as expanding an existing building, and real estate.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Loan Program. Food banks may also be a part of an organics composting/anaerobic digestion project and the organics infrastructure project may qualify for CalRecycles Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund loan program, which can provide funding for equipment, real estate, and leasehold improvements.

There are additional funding programs that food banks may be able to utilize:

Furniture And Other Goods

On occasion we can accept donations of furniture.

If you are interested in donating a furniture item, please email a photo and the dimensions of the item to and a staff member will get back to you if we are able to accept the item.

Please note:

  • We do not accept donations of mattress.
  • We are not able to provide pick up of any items.

For a list of other Anne Arundel County Partner Organizations that may accept donations we are unable to accept, .

Also Check: World Food Program Percentage Donations

Homelessness In The United States

According to data as of 2018, U.S. homelessness still has high numbers on a single night. The National Alliance to End Homelessness says 552,830 people experienced homelessness. Of this number, 180,413 were people in families, and 372,417 were individuals. Families often experience homelessness due to a financial crisis. These can be a medical emergency, death in the family, or a car accident. Certain situations prevent families from keeping their homes. They usually need help to find jobs, housing, or assistance with rent.

Approximately 15 percent of homeless people are homeless for long periods of time. The number of chronically homeless people in the U.S. has declined by 21 percent since 2010. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people living on the streets or in shelters. These people could use your help, especially during the colder months.

What Kind Of Donations Do Homeless Shelters Take

Giving Tuesday: Dayton homeless shelter asks for donations

Homeless shelters take donations in forms beyond cash. Because shelters serve the homeless population each day, they try to address various needs, including personal care and dietary. Each shelter has its own policies on what types of donations it will accept, so before you donate any items, check with the shelter.

Recommended Reading: Food Banks In Grand Junction Co

Reusing Food From A Buffet To Feed The Homeless

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 96 billion tons of food goes to waste each year — more than one quarter of the nations food supply. Additionally, the U.S. spends a total cost of $1 billion annually to dispose of this excess food.

In its “Waste Not, Want Not program, the EPA suggests mitigating food waste by donating food items to homeless shelters, soup kitchens and community food banks. By repurposing leftover items from a buffet, you can avoid food waste and fill empty plates at the same time.

  • 2.

    Ask the organization for a rundown of its food quality and safety standards to determine if any of your leftovers are ineligible for donation. Some organizations can’t accept prepared foods, foods that have been reheated or any foods that have sat out on a buffet. However, even in this case, you may be able to donate leftover supplies that are still in food-grade packaging, such as unopened cans or bags of produce.

  • 3.

    Obtain an appropriate number of coolers. To avoid purchasing expensive coolers you don’t need or cheap disposable Styrofoam ones, ask friends and colleagues if they have any coolers to lend. Collect empty boxes to transport the food, and supply enough ice to keep perishables cold during transportation.

  • 6.

    Explain upon arrival which foods are perishable and need to be refrigerated immediately.

  • References

    What To Donate To A Food Bank And What To Avoid

    So, youre ready to donate food to your local food bank. Thats great! Whether youre starting a food drive or just planning to grab a few extra items for donation while out grocery shopping, there are a couple of things you should know about what you can donate and what food banks wont accept.

    What food you CAN donate to your local food bank:

    This part is pretty easy. Food banks accept dry and canned food donations. What does that mean? Basically, any food that is shelf-stable or nonperishable you can keep it in your pantry and it wont go bad. And remember, only donate food that hasnt reached its sell-by date yet. Specifically, food banks often need items like:

    Thats definitely not an exhaustive list but it covers a lot of what food banks regularly need. Additionally, some food banks accept personal care and household items, since many families struggle to afford these items and they arent covered by other food assistance programs like SNAP.

    If youre still stumped about what to donate, just look in your own pantry. Families struggling with hunger often cant afford the staples that we normally have stocked at home. So, check your pantry out and go from there. Even specialty foods like olive oil, dressings, or marinades can be helpful if they dont need to be refrigerated.

    What not to donate to a food bank
    Where can I donate food near me?

    Recommended Reading: Request For Food Donation Letter

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    Pack The Pantry Food Drive

    Should restaurants donate excess food? The answer is not so simple.

    Fill out the Form to Order Bags or Boxes

    I helped with the Pack the Pantry Food Drive last year. This year my family, some friends, and even my school is pitching in. I hope to have lots of food to donate and help others.

    Steven, Pack the Pantry Professional

    During these uncertain economic times, we need your help more than ever to serve the hungry and homeless of South Florida. During the fall, our Centers in South Florida are having the Pack the Pantry Food Drive campaign.

    We want to raise enough food to help us feed nearly 220,000 meals to the hungry and homeless of our communities this fall. This includes our Great Thanksgiving Banquet as well as our Christmas Outreaches.

    Hope often begins with a meal!

    Organize a Food Drive at your school, business, place of worship, or with a group. Simply fill in the form and we will send you our Pack the Pantry grocery bag .For larger donations we can provide flyers to place on large boxes you provide. Your food donations will provide nutrious meals to those in need and will help change lives.

    Read Also: Roadrunner Food Bank New Mexico

    Where To Donate Clothes For The Homeless

    When donating clothes to the homeless, the best places to start are local homeless charities.

    Dont get me wrong. Theres nothing wrong with national charities like Goodwill and Salvation Army. But these places operate by selling donated goods and using the proceeds for their various programs. So your donations are more likely to end up in a thrift shop than in a homeless persons wardrobe.

    With that, here are some of the best places to donate clothes for the homeless:

    Anyone Can Be A Food Donor

    Anyone can donate food, including farmers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants, cafeterias, hotels, cruise ships, and households, just to name a few.

    • EPAs Excess Food Opportunities Map is an interactive tool that displays the locations of nearly 1.2 million potential industrial, commercial and institutional excess food generators and more than 4,000 potential recipients.
    • Gleaning is the collection of excess fresh foods from farms, gardens, farmers markets, and other sources to provide it to those in need. Typically, volunteers partner with a farm to glean excess fresh produce and deliver it to a food bank or food pantry. Learn how to develop a successful gleaning program with this USDA toolkit .

    Recommended Reading: Food Bank Delivery For Elderly

    Find A Soup Kitchen Near You

    Soup kitchens are always looking for volunteers, but its still important that you call ahead of time. The holidays especially encourage many groups and individuals to volunteer. Do some homework to see which soup kitchen or shelter has the biggest need for volunteers.

    There are many online resources available for people who wish to help the homeless any time of the year. Check out to find a list of soup kitchens near you.

    Feeding America is another great resource for finding local food banks in your area. They secure and distribute more than 3 billion meals throughout the U.S. each year. is a third resource which allows you to search for soup kitchens. Use this to find nonprofit organizations committed to fighting hunger.

    Help End Hunger & Homelessness

    Homeless shelter asking for donations

    Every dollar helps change a life! Thank you for supporting our mission.

    You can help end hunger and homelessness in Victor Valley by giving a financial gift of any size. Your gift will help provide meals, clean clothing, vocational training, shelter, and life-changing services to our homeless neighbors. Consider making your gift monthly. to donate today. You can mail any donations by check to: P O Box 3060 Victorville, CA 92393-3060

    Read Also: How To Donate Food To Ukraine

    How Does The Law Protect Businesses From Liability

    The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act makes it easier for businesses to donate to food rescue and food bank programs. It protects donors from liability when donating to nonprofit organizations and protects donors from civil and criminal liability should the product donated in good faith cause harm to the needy recipient.

    The Salvation Army Serves Displaced Men Women And Children 365 Days A Year Through:

    Homeless Shelters

    For those with no place to go or in need of emergency shelter, local Salvation Army homeless shelters provide a warm, safe place for men, women, and whenever possible families to stay. In cities where we do not operate homeless shelters, we offer financial assistance to cover emergency overnight housing costs or refer those facing housing and food insecurity to partner programs with emergency shelter services.

    Even during a pandemic, our homeless shelters evolved and innovated to serve their neighbors in need despite the ongoing challenges. Check out the internationally recognized efforts of The Salvation Army of Marquette County Michigans successful efforts to keep people fed and sheltered when the public transit system was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Transitional Housing

    Our transitional housing programs offer hope to the temporarily displaced, chronically homeless population, and many young adults who have aged out of the foster care system. For those experiencing a recent eviction, domestic breakup, addiction issue, or any other housing crisis, our temporary shelters provide homeless individuals with food and lodging while equipping them with the resources and support needed to regain stability.

    Permanent Supportive Housing
    Re-Entry Resources
    Serving All Without Discrimination

    Also Check: Food Bank Of Contra Costa And Solano Counties

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    Donate To Local Soup Kitchens

    Hope Offered for Thanksgiving Season

    Besides serving food at local soup kitchens, in-kind donations are also needed. Food banks and soup kitchens are always looking for donations such as:

    • Canned goods, especially carrots, peas, green beans, and beans.
    • Canned fruit, especially sliced apples, peaches, pineapples, and mixed fruit.
    • Coffee creamer, sugar/sweetener, and teabags.
    • Salad dressings, including mayonnaise. Check out Hampton Creeks Just Mayo, who is working to end world hunger.
    • Personal care products for men and women, including shampoo and soap.
    • Napkins, tissues, dish soap, laundry detergent.
    • Clothing such as hats, mittens, and scarves.

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    Places To Donate Food

    There are food recipient organizations across the country. The following sites offer tools to help donors find nearby food banks, pantries, soup kitchens and shelters that may accept wholesome, excess food.

    • Feeding America is a national network of food banks, individuals, national offices, and corporate and government partners working to combat hunger in the U.S. Use the Find Your Local Food Bank tool to locate food programs by state or zip code.
    • Ample Harvest is a nationwide effort to educate, enable, and encourage gardeners to donate extra produce to local food pantries. Use their Find a Pantry tool to donate food you grow or buy.
    • The Homeless Shelter Directory is a crowdsourced listing for people who want to find and donate food and/or supplies to their local shelter.

    Contact Us:

    Want To Volunteer At A Food Bank

    Food banks, food pantries, and meal programs in the Feeding America network are continuing to do what they do best – provide meals to our communities. Volunteers are critical to providing food to everyone during this difficult time.

    Pledge to volunteer with your local food bank and find a volunteer opportunity near you.

    Recommended Reading: Food Banks In Riverside Ca

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