The Holidays Are Over But Food Banks Are Still in Need: What to Donate & What Not to Donate to Food Banks by Ann Marie Patitucci

Make a Difference
2 years ago

The Holidays Are Over But Food Banks Are Still in Need: What to Donate & What Not to Donate to Food Banks

I’m always touched to see just how generous people can be at the holidays. From donating toys and kids’ coats to “adopting” entire families and donating food to their local food banks. There are so many organizations and people making a difference in their communities. I always, wonder, though, what it’s like for these organizations, and the people they serve, come January. The holidays may have ended, but the need has not.

Unfortunately, evictions, homelessness and hunger aren’t seasonal. Food insecurity doesn’t follow a calendar.

According to Nutrition Journal, the COVID-19 pandemic has “worsened food insecurity,” with “nearly 18 percent of households with children ... report[ing] food insecurity early in the COVID-19 pandemic.” In a survey done by Virginia Tech of “low-income households” in April 2020, nearly 70 percent of respondents said it was either "often" or "sometimes" true that they “worried whether [their] food would run out before [they] got money to buy more.” 

Due to such a need in our communities there has been, of course, a direct impact on food bank supplies as well as the lines outside their doors. So what do food banks need right now and how might you help? Here’s what to donate to your local food bank:

Some organizations will also accept personal care and household items, such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, diapers and baby wipes, cleaning wipes, toothpaste, etc.

According to Feeding America, here’s what not to donate to a food bank: 

  • Items that need refrigeration. Refrigerator and freezer space is unlikely or nonexistent at most food banks, so please stick to nonperishable items.
  • Expired food. You likely wouldn’t serve food that is past its “sell-by” date to your own family, so avoid donating anything past those dates to food banks as well.
  • Food with packaging issues. This includes open packages, damaged packaging (ex. dented cans) and items in glass containers (for safety reasons).
  • Leftovers/baked goods. Food banks can’t accept leftovers or anything made in home kitchens, primarily because they can’t verify the ingredients or the preparation process.

Another option: Consider making a monetary donation; your local food bank can always put your donation to good use!

Thanks for helping to make a difference all year long!

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So true, great tips 🙌🏼
Elisa Schmitz
What a helpful post, Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead . Making a difference and making life better happens all year round. But the holidays are such a great time to do even more!

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