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donating food this holiday

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Gottagetthrough posted 11/3/2013 15:50 PM

I wanted to donate food to our church thanksgiving baskets this year.

Are there foods that people usually want but rarely get donated? Our church suggests several items. I think I've heard that corn and beans are usually donated, but thing like stuffing or marshmallows for sweet potato casserole are not as likely to be donated??

[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 3:51 PM, November 3rd (Sunday)]

mom of 2 posted 11/3/2013 16:12 PM

Not to be a Debbie Downer but this is a pet peeve of mine! I finally gave up and now just write a check to food pantries so they can buy whatever they want. Anyway...

Years and years ago I wanted to make a food donation and decided I would waiver from the usual list of canned vegetables, tuna, etc. I thought about what I and my family ate and loaded up on things like instant grits, pancake mix, syrup, yams in a can, Stove Top stuffing mix, canned pumpkin, etc.

I understand not everyone eats processed food and would find the above disgusting but I don't, and was trying to think outside the box. OMG. In the checkout line for whatever reason, I mentioned to the person in front of me my items were for food donation. She very loudly and adamantly stated "the food pantry was NOT interested in any of THAT (my) stuff. There was a reason they made requests for specific types of food".

I was SO embarrassed. Once home I called the pantry I was donating to and told her the story of my purchases. The person was really nice and told me "of course they would accept ANY non-perishable" donation, but I could tell even she thought my choices were odd.

That's why I write a check these days. My suggestion would be to call the person in charge of your church's donations and ask. Personally, I think your ideas are GREAT and if I were a recipient I would very much appreciate it. But from past experience, I may be the only one.

edited for typo

[This message edited by mom of 2 at 4:15 PM, November 3rd (Sunday)]

Gottagetthrough posted 11/3/2013 16:18 PM

Thanks!! I'm sorry you got that response!!

We were given a list and things like stove top stuffing were on it! I think you had some great ideas :-)

I tried emailing but the church's server is down. I'll probably call in a day or two.

My dad used to volunteer in a food pantry and the only thing he said shouldn't be donated was sauce (I remember BBQ sauce). And that was only because at that particular pantry the people could only request a certain number of items, and no one wanted to waste one of their food items on something like BBQ sauce.

Dreamboat posted 11/3/2013 16:36 PM

Honestly, the only reason I think the food pantry like that "stock" food of cereal, beans, and corn is to make creating the boxes easier. If they have 30 boxes to prepare and 30+ cans of beans and corn, 30+ boxes of cereal, etc then it is easy to just put one of each in every box. But for the items where they have one 1 or 2, which box gets it? Well some lucky person gets pancakes and syrup (YUM!) and some unlucky person does not.

I usually try to give groups of items that can make a meal and try to get 2 of each so 2 families get it. Like chili -- I get a couple of cans a beans, a couple of cans ot tomatoes, a couple of chili mixes, and a couple of boxes of cornbread mix.. Then add some meat, or not, and you have a pot of chili with cornbread. I also sometimes throw in a couple of boxes of brownie mix or muffin mix because I figure the family can save that for a special occasion like one of the kid's birthdays.

Don't you think the families that rely on a box of donated food every week or month would like a little variety? I know I would get sick of always getting a bag of rice, a can of beans, and a box of store-brand cheerios. Just sayin'

lieshurt posted 11/3/2013 17:30 PM

I volunteered at the Houston Food Bank before and one of the biggest things they ran short of was canned fruit.

Fireball72 posted 11/3/2013 19:34 PM

If you're unsure about food donations, try donating things that many may not think of, such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, or sanitary items - these things are necessary but a lot of times they can also run expensive. We have a donation drive at work every year and people always ask for beauty care items like these. I donate shampoo, toilet paper, soap, sanitary items, etc. It's not often thought of but it's much appreciated. See if there's a place nearby that will accept these types of items.

NaiveAgain posted 11/3/2013 20:16 PM

I just finished running a food drive and the place we donate to is always happy to receive ANY donations, but they are tickled pink to get hygienic items like tissues and toilet paper. Anything non-perishable usually makes them quite happy. I've ran several food drives at my school(s) and I've never had anyone complain about any type of donation. Seems very rude!

tushnurse posted 11/4/2013 11:34 AM

I like doing this (a friend that volunteers at a local pantry gave me this idea).

Find out what day of the week they have pick up, most pantries have specific times and days. Go that morning with non-perishable, FRESH items. Giant bags of Apples, Oranges, Sweet Potatoes, potatoes, even fresh green beans. These are things that they NEVER get when the pick up, it all has to be canned or boxed, but if it's fresh that morning, and they pick it up tthat day they love it. Often if you talk to a grocer, they will discount the "older" fruits/veggies for you when they know the purpose of the purchase as well.

metamorphisis posted 11/4/2013 11:41 AM

Our local food bank has lists of what they are short on. Just drop in ahead of time and see what they might like
We were even able to donate all of the leftovers from our reception to this place because they ran a hot lunch program every day and they were thrilled!
I think if you call or check ahead of time it would go well. I've never once had anyone be less than gracious

StrongerOne posted 11/4/2013 11:46 AM

Many places have a food shuttle that can take perishable food, usually from a restaurant or store. If you make the arrangement ahead of time, some will be able to use food from a catered reception, that sort of thing.

I donated the food left from my wedding reception (about a million years ago) to a women's shelter. They were very pleased to get swanky cold soups and fancy cookies!

Just ignore knuckleheads who tell you you are wrong for your donation choices. They are knuckleheads. Have pity for their ignorance.

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