10 Things Food Banks Really Need But Rarely Get

As the holidays approach, you may also be planning some charitable donations. A donation to food banks is an excellent way to make a direct local impact, and can be as easy as looking into your cupboards and picking out a few canned goods.

While any non-perishable item donated will be appreciated by food bank patrons, there are some items that are in high demand at the food bank that some people don’t even think to donate. These items aren’t essentials, so food bank staff doesn’t publicly ask for them. When asked in a survey on Reddit.com, volunteers and patrons of food banks were candid about which items people would appreciate most.


Here are the top 10 things that food banks need, but don’t ask for:

1. Spices

People who rely on food banks eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, and bread. They love receiving spices and anything that can help them with add some variety and flavor to their dishes. Consider adding a jar of seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano or basil to your donation.

2. Canned meats and jerky

While this isn’t true of all food banks, some struggle to give users enough protein. Canned tuna, ham, salmon and non-perishable meats like jerky are always highly appreciated.

3. Toiletries / Hygiene Items

Grocery stores are great about donating surplus or unsold food, but they have no reason to donate toilet paper, tooth paste, soap, deodorant or shampoo. Everyone needs these items, but food stamps often don’t cover these.

4. Chocolate and Baked Goods

People don’t need these, but if you put yourself in the shoes of someone that has hit hard times, you’ll understand how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar, cookies or brownie mix along with your essentials.

5. Feminine Products

While pads, tampons and panty liners are not considered “needs,” monthly periods are a recurring fact of life for most women. Can you imagine being worried about affording these? Consider buying in bulk for donating.

6. Baby Toiletries

Baby food, cereal and formula is something that most food banks request, but diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby shampoo, baby soap and bottles are luxury items that many food bank patrons would love to receive.

7. Soup packets

Soup packets can be used like spices, and are an excellent way to make a meal out of all of the items from the food bank. Staples like rice, beans and canned vegetables can be made into delicious dishes with soup packets.

8. Socks

A former homeless person described it best: “Socks mean the world to you. They keep you warm, make you feel like you have something new, and just comfort you.”

9. Canned Fruit (other than pineapple)

Food banks get a lot of pineapple donated. Their clients love it when other kinds of fruit are available.

10. Dog or Cat Food

If the people in the home are not eating, their pets are likely hungry as well.


Featured Image: flickr | Staffs Live

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