What Food Pantries Need the Most
Here are some of the top items that food banks and pantries need the most:
Pasta (most prefer whole grain)
Rice (most prefer brown rice)
1. Applesauce: Plastic jars of applesauce are a quick snack, fiber and vitamin C.
2. Canned Beans: Loaded with protein and fiber, canned beans provide an excellent, nutritious way to fill a hungry tummy.
3. Canned Chicken, Tuna, Salmon, SPAM and Ham: It’s simple to toss these non-perishable item into soups and casseroles or add them to a sandwich or cracker. Their versatility and high protein content make them popular items at food banks.
4. Canned Vegetables: Colorful, nutrient-dense and fiber-rich vegetables are always in high demand.
5. Fruit (Canned or Dried): Fruit, whether dried, canned or in plastic cups, makes an excellent snack for kids and adults and provides some nutrition and fiber.
6. Crackers: Perfect as a snack or as a base for canned meats, crackers are shelf-stable and portable, making them ideal for snacks and lunches. Whole grain crackers are the best bet.
7. Granola/Energy/Protein Bars: Food banks are always in need of items that families can toss into lunches or eat on the go, and these bars are just the thing.
8. Meals in a Box: An entire meal that’s shelf-stable and in one package. Look for pasta, rice and soup kits.
9. Pasta: This is a food bank staple since it’s easy to turn into a meal.
10. Peanut Butter: It’s high in protein, making peanut butter one of the most popular items at food banks.
11. Rice: It’s filling, versatile and easy to prepare and store. Quinoa is also a great item to donate.
12. Shelf-stable and Powdered Milk: No fridge is required to keep this milk fresh and it provides much-needed calcium and protein.
13. Soup, Stew and Chili: These canned or packaged items acts as a warm and filling lunch or dinner and often come complete with protein (meat) and veggies.
14. Whole Grain Cereal: It makes a healthy breakfast or snack.
Another important area is items that food stamps won't cover such as most toiletries and hygiene products (shampoo, deodorant, etc.). Bear in mind that not all recipients--especially those that are homeless, have access to a can opener, so look for anything with a pop-top tab. What food pantries tend to have too much of are leftover holiday items such as canned pumpkin pie mix, canned cranberries and bags of stuffing.
Much of the information for this post came from the following 2 sources: https://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-blog/what-donate-food-bank-and-what-avoid and https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/20-items-your-food-bank-needs-the-most/