Saturday, December 22, 2018

What Do Food Pantries Need?

Who's Hungry?!

As the school year comes to a close, food pantries are asking for donations to tide families over the summer months. These are particularly difficult for children who have relied on subsidized school breakfast and lunch programs for much of their daily nutrition.

What kinds of food should you donate to your local food pantry? Here is a list of commonly acceptable items:

  1. Peanut butter
  2. Canned or dried beans
  3. Canned fruit in juice, NOT in light or heavy syrup
  4. Canned vegetables, low- or no-sodium
  5. Low-sodium canned soups
  6. Canned tuna or chicken, in water
  7. Low-sodium chicken, beef, or vegetable broths
  8. Whole-grain, low-sugar prepared cereals
  9. Rolled oats
  10. Whole grain pasta
  11. Low-sodium pasta sauce
  12. Unsalted nuts or seeds
  13. Canola or olive oil
  14. Unsweetened apple sauce
  15. Dried fruits, no sugar added
Notice some restrictions? Even food pantries are trying to offer healthier food selections, with less sodium and sugar, and whole grains.

What else should you not donate? Anything in glass jars is a no-no. So is anything past the sell-by date.

Be sure to ask your local food pantry what they need. For instance, my local one said “Please don’t donate any more canned vegetables. What we really need are ready-to-eat items, like canned pastas in sauce, that children home alone can open and eat, with or without heating.” If you have a choice, choose pop-top lid cans instead of ones that need to be opened with a can opener.

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