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Dec 22, 2013 08:36 PM

10 things food banks want but don't ask for

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.

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

    6 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      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

        We do the same including the company match.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          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

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

          1. re: mike0989

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

          2. re: c oliver

            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. "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

              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. 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. 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. 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

                    money and your time if you have it to give.

                    1. re: Puffin3

                      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

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

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          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

                            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

                              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!