Other Items We Accept
All though food is our number one priority, we take non-food related items and gifts-in-kind on a case by-case basis.
Whether they talk with their beaks or walk on four feet, our pets are cherished parts of our family and they need just as much help, love and nutrition as we do. Help feed furry family members by donating unopened pet food and treats.
Our baby hampers are provided to our youngest clients, newborns and infants up to 12 months old. We accept donations of baby food , infant formula , and diapers . We accept unopened and opened packages of diapers.
Birthday Party Kits
The birthday room is a special place at the Food Bank. Birthday party kits are available for children aged one to 12, who might not otherwise enjoy the luxury of a birthday party. We accept donations of bags, cards, party supplies, books, art and school supplies, games, toys, cakes mixes, icing, balloons and candles.
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?
The Best Foods To Donate To Food Banks
In the United States, one in seven people struggles with hunger, and many rely on food from local food banks to help feed their families. Were about to embark on the holiday season, which is an especially difficult time to live with food insecurity that is, not knowing when you will get your next meal.
Many of us think about making food donations to local food banks at this time of year. But what types of donations help most? And what kinds of food should you avoid donating? I spoke with representatives from food banks around the U.S. to find out the best ways to help hungry families in your community.
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How To Donate To A Food Bank During An Emergency
During times of crisis, it’s natural to want to give to a local food bank to make sure the most vulnerable members of the population are fed. While the types of items a food bank needs during an emergency, do not differ from regular times, food banks may suffer from low volume on specific items. The best course of action is to contact your local food bank and find out what they need the most. Volunteering and money are also some of the most powerful donations you can make during a crisis time, as food banks will be struggling more than usual to meet the needs of indigent populations. Following your food bank on social media and forwarding their posts with requests for help can also be a great way to help during any time of year, but especially during a crisis.
What Items Do Food Banks Need Most
Food banks mostly need long-life products that have extended use-by dates or non-perishables such as tinned vegetables and fish, biscuits, and sugar for example.
Tinned foods are often the first thing people think to donate however, other store cupboard essentials like stock cubes, condiments and spices, and jarred sauces are also welcome.
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If You Want To Make A Food Donation Give Nutritious Non
Your local food bank will likely accept almost any non-perishable food item, but here are the items that food banks want the most:
If youre donating canned goods, look for cans labeled “low-sodium” or “no added salt.”Too much sodium increases a persons risk for heart disease and stroke, and food insecure individuals may already be at higher risk. Also, stick to fruits and vegetables that are canned in water instead of syrup, or that are labeled “no added sugar.” As too much sugar increases a persons risk of type 2 diabetes, and makes it harder for people with type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar. And, again, people who are food insecure may already be at a higher risk.
What To Avoid Donating
Shelf-stable, nutrient-dense food is what people who struggle with food insecurity need most. Although you may think a donation of chips, candy, or other treats might help break up the monotony of the typical donations, the food bank representatives I spoke with assured me they receive more than enough junk food, and that high-quality, nutritious foods are what they really need.
We get a lot of snacks, says Kaupp. Obviously, people need snack foods as a treat too, but youd be surprised at how much we get. Morris echoes the sentiment: Although we love the generosity, we really dont need more candy or soda or anything like that.
Damaged, Unlabeled, or Home-Canned Food
For food safety reasons, items like rusty or dented cans, unlabeled packages, or non-commercially packaged food cannot be distributed. The same goes for perishable items, opened containers, and for some food banks food in glass containers. If you are unsure, ask your local food bank for their guidelines before donating.
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What Should I Donate
According to The Trussell Trust, which supports a network of more than 1,200 food banks around two thirds of all the food banks in the UK different food banks are short of different items. The charity has partnered with Give Food to compile a list of which essentials are needed where, accessible via a handy search tool on the website.
Were encouraging people to pop in their postcode to bring up the details of their local food bank, their most needed items as well as a list of their drop-off points, a spokesperson tells The Independent.
The Camden food bank, for example, needs gluten-free pasta and non-caffeinated teas as well as the more standard tinned items.
However, there are some items that are welcome across the board, regardless of region:
- Rice pudding/custard
IFAN says its members are most in need of similar items, with the list including tinned vegetables, tinned meat and fish, pasta and pasta sauces, rice, cereal, UHT milk, biscuits and tinned soup.
However, it adds: Most food banks need more of everything at the moment.
Limited Liability Protection For Donors
The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996 encourages the donation of food and grocery products to nonprofit organizations for distribution to needy individuals. The Act exempts persons and gleaners who make good faith donations of food to nonprofit organizations that feed the hungry from liability for injuries arising from the consumption of the donated food.
Under the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, the following food donation standards apply:
Persons and gleaners : Persons and gleaners, including qualified direct donors, shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food that the person or gleaner donates in good faith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.
Nonprofit organizations: Nonprofit organizations shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food that the nonprofit organization received as a donation in good faith from a person or gleaner, including a qualified direct donor, for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.
Donations of apparently wholesome food by qualified direct donors must be made in compliance with applicable state and local health, food safety, and food handling laws .
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What Do Food Banks Need At Christmas
Festive treats are appreciated as food donations at food banks during the Christmas holidays particularly Christmas pudding, as it often comes with a long-life use by date. The Trussell Trust recommends non-alcoholic puddings.
Chocolate coins and Christmas dinner non-perishables such as tinned pies, vegetables, condiments, and gravy are all appreciated this time of year. Festive treats for those who can’t afford them at this time of year are welcome.
Why Should You Donate To Local Food Banks
“Millions of vulnerable children are losing the healthy meals they depend on as the closes schools nationwide,” Davis said at the beginning of the pandemic. “As of , 39 states had closed schools entirely. When you add in the districts closed in other states it means 41.6 million kids, or 4 out of 5 kids, are out of school.” Even in areas where the schools were still open, many businesses were closed, which meant hourly workers who may have already been struggling to make ends meet were hit hard.
Fortunately, as of July 2022, the health risks posed by the pandemic have lessened over time. However, Davis notes that the need and the financial impact has not abated. âFamilies still face ongoing challenges due to the strained supply chain, rising food and gas prices, and skyrocketing inflation,â she says. âToday, one in six kids face hunger in the U.S.â
According to a recent Feeding America food bank survey, 80 percent of food banks across the country reported an increase or steady demand for food. Food insecurity exists everywhere, says Zuani Villarreal, the senior director of communication for Feeding America. âIt could be your classmate it could be a co-worker it could be your neighbor a fellow church goer that needs help and I think the awareness of that issue should drive people to help,â she says. For this reason, donating to food banks is more important than ever.
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Best Foods To Donate To A Food Drive
The holiday season is full of opportunities to give to those who cant afford to put nourishing meals on their familys table.
And we desperately need to take advantage of these opportunities.
Though hunger may sound like a problem of the past since obesity is often the more visible and talked-about issue this is far from the truth. More than 49 million Americans live in food-insecure households, and 16 million of these people are children.
What hungry families need is not the Kraft Mac & Cheese thats been sitting at the back of our pantry for two years, or the ketchup we never got around to using. Rather, they need healthy, high-quality foods that promote good eating habits any improved overall health.
Below are some of the best foods you can donate to a food drive or food bank.
Top 10 Foods to Give to a Food Bank
1. Canned fish and lean meats. Canned salmon, tuna, and chicken are high in protein and provide a great base for healthy meals.
2. Peanut butter / other nut butters. These or packaged nuts are great sources of protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fat. Theyre an especially helpful donation because theyre usually too expensive for food banks to purchase in sufficient quantities.
3. Healthy soups and stews. Look for low-sodium, organic, and natural brands of canned soup or stew. These provide needed nutrients and a way for families with limited resources to sit down to a healthy family meal.
Tips For Donating Food To Food Banks And Pantries
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Where Can I Donate To A Food Bank
Its easy to donate to a food bank and most communities will have a food bank in one form or another.
The Trussell Trust is the UKs biggest network of food banks. The organisation supports more than 1,400 across the country and has a map on its website where you can find the one thats nearest to you, making it easy to donate directly by simply delivering the items you want to give.
Meanwhile, the Independent Food Aid Network is a group of nearly 930 grassroots food banks supporting communities across the UK. You can find your local IFAN venue using this interactive map or by getting in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to donate.
Most supermarket chains have a food bank collection box in their bigger stores making it easy to donate while doing your weekly shop.
If you cant collect and donate items, most food banks happily accept cash contributions. Services like the Trussell Trust, IFAN and other local food banks can be donated to online, either as a one-off or on a recurring basis.
Donations dont have to be huge. It can just mean buying a few extra items in your weekly shop or donating cash to help food banks buy the items they know locals really need.
Is Food The Answer
Food banks hand out emergency parcels to meet an immediate need: the thousands of people across the country who would not have anything to eat that day otherwise.
But many food banks agree: food poverty cant be separated from poverty, and food handouts are not the answer to the UKs poverty problem. They want the government to strengthen the benefits system and improve low pay across the country to make sure people can afford food in the first place.
Sabine Goodwin, coordinator for IFAN, told The Big Issue: The buck cannot stop at the doors of food banks.
Some could be forced into the unthinkable position of not even being able to offer reduced parcels to people unable to afford the bare essentials, she added.
This is never going to be resolved by food, Goodwin said.
Food banks are also receiving fewer donations from the public compared to recent months, Goodwin added, and are operating with fewer and fewer volunteers. Those remaining are exhausted.
People are going back to work. That moment of Blitz spirit has passed, she said. Some food banks might be alright now but the system is so fragile, when the expected surge in demand comes they wont be prepared.
This impossible scenario cannot be imposed on charitable food aid providers when the solution is so clear, she added
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The Best Foods For Food Donations
- Rowan University
- Wine School of Philadelphia
There are a lot of food drives during the holidays. What food banks need most is cash, but when the Scouts come knocking at your door collecting food or you’re asked to bring a non-perishable item as entrance to the schools holiday concert, food is in order.
NPR did a piece on the types of pantry staples that can help those who rely on food banks to build healthy meals. Food banks say the focus should be on on whole, unprocessed or minimally processed foods to help people create healthy meals. Instead of donating foods that are high in salt, sugar and highly processed grains, bring foods that are high in protein, healthy fats and whole grains instead.
Who Will Take Food Donations
- Food pantries: Use Aunt Bertha to find a food pantry near you that accepts donations. Call ahead to make sure that the pantry can accept your donation and to coordinate how and when it should be delivered or picked up.
- Food banks: Contact Central Texas Food Bank to schedule a donation.
- Food rescue programs like Keep Austin Fed may be able to help with donation logistics.
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