What to Donate to Show You Care This Holiday Season
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, ‘tis the season for calls for donations. Every year at work or school, canned food drives encourage us all to donate to families in need.
Unfortunately, organizations cannot use everything we donate. Without realizing it, we may be giving items that are unusable or perishable. Or we may be donating items that they have WAY too much of already.
Instead of grabbing whatever you haven’t used in an attempt to clean the house, try donating items that’ll make an impact. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a difference. And you’ll be making the holidays a little brighter for someone in your community.
If you’re not sure, don’t worry! We put together a list of items that food banks and shelters are always looking for.
Personal Hygiene Products
Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and razors are always a plus for anyone in need. Toilet paper is helpful. Diapers are also helpful to mothers in need. The biggest want of all is menstrual products.
There’s a huge gap between those in poverty and accessibility to menstrual products. Donating these can make someone’s day.
Any Kind of Canned Food
It’s difficult for food banks to keep fresh items on hand because they’re perishable. But canned food is always the best option because it stays good for years. Make sure that what you’re donating hasn’t expired.
Vegetables and fruit. Canned meat like tuna, ham, turkey, and salmon are great. Soups, stews, and chili are always welcome. Any kind of canned bean is great too. And always go for the low sodium option. If it’s available, try to buy cans that have a pop-top.
Dried Herbs + Spices
Having a lot of food is fantastic. But having a lot of food without seasoning is a travesty. Going down any food aisle, spices are one of those things that can be pricey. If you’re looking to donate this, see if you can buy spices in bulk.
If you can only go to a supermarket, see if the store has its own brand of herbs and spices. They tend to be cheaper so you can buy more.
Another place to buy affordable herbs and spices is an ethnic store. They usually sell big bags of spices that are very cost-efficient compared to their supermarket counterparts.
Peanut butter is often sought after because it contains a high amount of protein. Not to mention you can make a lot of tasty foods and desserts with it. It’s delicious, it’s nutritious, and donating it to food banks will have families and food bank workers alike, grateful to you.
When you pick out a brand of peanut butter, make sure to get one that’s lower in sugar.
Pasta + Rice
This is always good to grab for a variety of reasons. It’s a dried good which means it’ll be shelf stable for a long time. Food banks prefer brown rice and wheat pasta. This is mainly because it’s filled with more vitamins and nutrients compared to white rice.
Both options contain a lot of fiber too. Quinoa is also a good option for the same reasons. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t appreciate carbs?
Whole Grain Cereal + Granola
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Cereal and granola are great not only as a breakfast, but also as an on-the-go snack. When picking this out, make sure that it’s made with whole grains.
Much like brown pasta and rice, it’s more nutritious that way. Make sure it isn’t loaded with sugar and that it’s made with oats and other grains.
Shelf-Stable + Powdered Milk
This is milk that’s found in the store aisles rather than in the refrigerated dairy section. It lasts longer and has the protein and calcium needed to stay healthy.
Think of how many times in a day we reach for the milk. Whether it’s to drink, to add to our cereal or add to our recipes, it’s a welcome addition to any pantry.
With this list, you’re sure to be a holiday hero to someone who really needs it. Because everyone deserves a better life and a happy holiday. Knowing you had a hand in that is the greatest gift of all.
Tell us, dear readers, do you have anything that you would add to this list that we missed?