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Nov 17, 2012 06:24 PM

What Did You Contribute?

So here in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, it's time to contribute to the Boy Scouts Food Drive. I did my usual: pasta, canned tomatoes, black beans. Honestly, things I buy just for the sake of giving away.

But a few months ago I received a very rare Ecuadoran hot chocolate and expensive Ecuadorean coffee beans. I donated both. OK or not?

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  1. We used to be Scout leaders and our troop collected a lot in our community. But then (long after our Scouting days) I learned that local food banks can do a lot more with a money donation, rather than handling an odd collection of food goods. So these days we give money.

    1. Here are a couple of threads about donations :-)

      I'm sure someone would be thrilled to receive that in their box of food!

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. I give cash. I've worked as a volunteer for various causes over the years. While can food drives are helpful, I sometimes think these have more to do with making the giver feel good rather than helping the receivers. Volunteers will be taking in the goods and sorting through them trying to come up with boxes of various items that people who are in need can use. Basic food items are easy to deal with. I know you meant wells but if I was packing boxes and came across your hot chocolate and coffee beans, I'd be stuck and wonder what the heck am I going to do with these? Coffee beans? Ground coffee I could deal with but how do I know that the person who receives this box will even have a coffee grinder? I suppose some food pantries are set up differently, but most of the ones ive dealt with appreciate the basics mostly. The best contribution is cash. That way the charity can spend the money on stuff that people really need.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Bkeats

            Yeah, the coffee beans were probably a bad choice. Hopefully a volunteer with a coffee grinder takes that home with them.

            1. re: gaffk

              it's not unreasonable that some recipients of food pantry donations might have a coffee grinder. In our town, the food bank has station for "free choice" items, from which clients can choose one or two items each week. We include the specialty seasonings and groceries in that section. Halal and fresh dairy are also separate stations, when available.

              1. re: KarenDW

                That is a great idea and a way to match specialty items to recipients who can and want to use them.

            2. Yes, I make monetary donations to Philabundance several times a year as I know it is the most effective approach. However, when the boy scouts leave a bag for me to fill, I think it's important to fill it so they will not be disappointed on collection day or will not think their neighbors don't care about local hunger.

              I guess I was just second-guessing my decision to essentially "re-gift" expensive products to the needy.