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10 things food banks want but don't ask for

ennuisans Dec 22, 2013 08:36 PM


My go-to donation is oats--nutritious and a good shelf life. But I would not have thought of most of the non-food requests here.

  1. c oliver Dec 22, 2013 08:42 PM

    Give money! Any amount of money. Their purchasing power is HUGE. Give money :)

    6 Replies
    1. re: c oliver
      Ruth Lafler Dec 22, 2013 09:29 PM

      Yup. I have an ongoing monthly contribution -- $30 month isn't as big a deal as $360/year, plus once a year I submit the total for a company match. The other thing, of course is that most people contribute (both items and money) around the holidays, which means they have to spread that out over the rest of the year.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler
        c oliver Dec 22, 2013 10:36 PM

        We do the same including the company match.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          c oliver Dec 23, 2013 07:47 AM

          Your last comment is important. That monthly donation, and ours is much smaller than yours, is money that they can budget with.

        2. re: c oliver
          mike0989 Dec 23, 2013 07:46 AM

          Agreed. That $50 gift will; be multiplied at least 10 fold.

          1. re: mike0989
            c oliver Dec 23, 2013 07:48 AM

            And I think that's something that not everyone knows.

          2. re: c oliver
            chowser Dec 25, 2013 05:36 AM

            I volunteer at a pantry and learned this here at CH years ago. I asked and they said they have places to purchase food at pennies per pound. Cash is the best for them.

          3. r
            ratgirlagogo Dec 22, 2013 08:47 PM

            "My go-to donation is oats"

            God help me, I thought you had written that your go-to donation was CATS. I don't know how nutritious they are but certainly do enjoy living much of their lives sitting on a shelf of some kind, looking down at life.

            A lot of these ideas actually did come up in a recent thread on food bank donations.
            Although one that didn't was the idea that food banks get entirely too much canned pineapple. Really? Why?

            1 Reply
            1. re: ratgirlagogo
              ennuisans Dec 22, 2013 09:01 PM

              Purely a guess, but I suspect it's one of those canned ingredients that people buy and never get around to using. I've heard that complaint about stuff like canned artichokes, that it's a clean-out-the-pantry sort of donation item.

            2. j
              Jeri L Dec 22, 2013 09:14 PM

              Diapers are another big need. Keeping to food, my Mom (91 next month and still volunteering) says they hand out a lot of "no cook" bags for the homeless: protein bars, cheese/peanutbutter cracker packs, jerky nuts, fruit and other foods that are palatable without heating and don't need to be kept refrigerated.

              1. a
                autumm Dec 22, 2013 09:15 PM

                I get the feminine hygiene products requests. My mom finished menopause while I was pregnant, so I wasn't thinking about costs when she gave me her "extras" Now that the "extras" are almost gone, that hits the budget a bit.

                I try to donate basic kitchen essentials, such as non-stick cooking spray. Not optimal CH style, but opens up a bunch of options for others.

                1. MrsPatmore Dec 22, 2013 10:51 PM

                  Thank you for sharing this link. Had not thought of spices. I'm going to write to penzey's to see if they have any kind of donation program set up. They sell spices at the dollar store around here but the quality isn't great. In stores like Publix, the prices are prohibitive. There is an Aldi's nearby. I'll check there, too.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: MrsPatmore
                    Puffin3 Dec 23, 2013 06:08 AM

                    money and your time if you have it to give.

                    1. re: Puffin3
                      Ruth Lafler Dec 23, 2013 11:49 AM

                      And again, if you want to volunteer, remember that they need help all year round, not just during the holiday season. All those people who think they're teaching their children a good lesson by going down to the soup kitchen on Thanksgiving. Uh, no. What you're teaching them is that giving is something you do one day a year, during the holidays, nevermind that those people are going to be hungry again tomorrow.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler
                        HillJ Dec 23, 2013 12:00 PM

                        So true, Fill out a volunteer application, go through the training process and support food banks as a family.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler
                          chowser Dec 25, 2013 05:34 AM

                          Donations and time during the summer are most needed at our local pantry, when kids are home and don't have lunches at school. It's great that people want to help at the holidays but shelves are usually overflowing and there isn't space for it all.

                          1. re: chowser
                            HillJ Dec 25, 2013 07:33 AM

                            At our food bank the start of the new year is when volunteer applications and training begin. Many people decide to volunteer more as a new year's resolution. The ED thinks it works well. Commitments are 6 mos, 1 year or longer depending on the position.

                            1. re: HillJ
                              chowser Dec 25, 2013 11:01 AM

                              Ours has short and long term commitment/projects. Short term would be fund raisers, packing backpacks, cleaning out the pantry. Long terms would be picking up food from grocery stores, packing bags, passing out bags, working thrift shop, being on the board but there isn't a time commitment (except the latter). They just hope w/ the training that people will stay longer. At the same time, our county has volunteer projects that are one time only, for people who have limited time. What it really comes down to is there is something for everyone, at all times of the year. Seasons greetings to all, throughout the year!

                    2. g
                      Goatjunky Dec 23, 2013 07:35 AM

                      I know this sounds strange, but dog and cat food is really appreciated. Not for human consumption obviously. My church has a lot of seniors, and it means a lot to them to have their companions. Next favorite thing i can think of is peanut butter

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: Goatjunky
                        c oliver Dec 23, 2013 07:43 AM

                        A friend of mine volunteered at the SPCA IIRC. They had a program where she actually delivered dog and cat food and litter to people.

                        1. re: c oliver
                          greygarious Dec 23, 2013 07:41 PM

                          In the Boston area, the MSPCA program, Phinney's Friends, delivers pet supplies, walks dogs, and in other ways helps AIDS patients keep their pets with them as long as possible. Sadly, it's still the case that many people with HIV/AIDS are shunned by their families and friends, so their pets become their most important emotional attachments.

                          1. re: greygarious
                            c oliver Dec 23, 2013 09:28 PM

                            So they only help HIV/AIDS people?

                            1. re: c oliver
                              greygarious Dec 24, 2013 09:58 AM

                              The Massachusetts SPCA has various programs like low-cost spay/neuter, that help needy people afford to have and care for their pets. Phinney's Friends was established in memory of one of their staffers, specifically for this particular niche need. Your question prompted me to find their website: http://www.phinneysfriends.org/about/
                              where I learned that my info was not up to date. PF is no longer part of MSPCA, and also serves elderly pet owners.

                              1. re: greygarious
                                c oliver Dec 24, 2013 01:53 PM

                                My friend was like I. She wanted to help the animals but knew emotionally she couldn't handle actually being with them (she'd want to bring them all home!) so this worked great for her.

                      2. h
                        HillJ Dec 23, 2013 08:39 AM

                        For clients:
                        Manual can openers and flip top can openers
                        Diapers and just about every baby product sold on grocery store shelves.
                        For the food bank:
                        Volunteering; especially event and Board member volunteering
                        Money and this includes employing matching programs, corporate grants you know about and inkind support
                        Donate vehicle maintenance/repairs for the trucks

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