Donating food to your local pantry is a great way to support people in your community. Oftentimes, however, we tend to think of donating the same types of food staples over and over. Here is a list of items that are less-commonly donated but incredibly useful to individuals receiving assistance.
1. Cooking Oil
Canola oil, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil; these are all incredibly useful food items to donate to your local food pantry. People often donate shelf-stable items like canned fruits, veggies, beans, and pre-packaged meals, but these foods are difficult to turn into a meal on their own. To cook the food into a meal that is yummy and well rounded, cooking oil is a must! Plus, the fat in oil is crucial for healthy brain function and meeting your daily caloric needs.
2. Personal Hygiene Products
This one is HUGE. In addition to food, personal hygiene is a daily necessity that can be difficult to access for people struggling financially. Additionally, these items are not covered under the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Jeff, our local Food Center Manager, says that the items we usually need most at our pantry are soap and toothpaste. Shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper, and menstrual supplies are also all incredibly helpful.
3. Cleaning Supplies
Similar to personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies are non-food items that can easily become low-priority for families that are forced to make tough choices due to a tight budget, and they are also not covered under SNAP. All-purpose cleaners, Clorox wipes, and disinfectants can make a huge difference in the overall health of a family’s home.
Juice, tea, seltzer water, and other beverages low in artificial ingredients fly off the shelves at our local food centers. These are grocery items we often buy for ourselves, but don’t think to donate because we don’t see them as necessities. However, 100% fruit and vegetable juice can provide vital vitamins and nutrients- especially in the absence of fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, in situations and areas where access to clean water is spurious, these bottled and canned beverages can be essential.
While donating these items is a great way to contribute, donating money straight to your local food pantry can be an even more impactful way to help. Here at Comfort Food Community, our purchasing power allows us to purchase $9 of food for $1. Additionally, this allows us to purchase the items that we need that may vary from week to week. Ultimately, however you choose to contribute, your donations are greatly appreciated. Click here to learn more about how to donate.