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Donating Food

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Donating food not only helps those in need, but is a wonderful alternative to buying gifts for Christmas and other occasions. This is a guide about donating food.
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January 9, 2017

Years ago, I was a director of a crisis center. We were mainly a crisis center for pregnant women, but we also did food and clothing, as moms need to eat and wear clothes too. Doing this, I went to many community meetings, were I met with those who ran the food pantry, and discovered that we had many common issues. One of those issues, was trying to give our clients items that they needed they could actually use.

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It sounds simple when you donate food to a center. You give it, they pass it on. But, the reality is, it is not that simple. Here are a few simple trips to make it easier on the center workers, and those who are receiving the food.

  1. Please don't give out dated expired food. We can't pass that on. Nothing says "your not worthy" more than giving something that needs to be thrown away.
  2. Please don't give items that are dirty, have bug or mouse droppings on them. No one wants to eat food out of a can that smells of mouse urine.
  3. Don't just give hodge podge items. Sadly, many people donate what was on sale. As a result, that week's center donations consist of 72 cans of corn, 61 cans of beans....all because the store had canned veggies on sale. Ever try to make a meal out of just canned veggies? Large city centers may not have this problem, but in small towns, its a big problem.

Instead, donate a meal. Make the items you give add up to something that a person or family can use for a meal. Suggestions may include, 2 cans of spaghetti sauce, pasta, can of olives, can of mushrooms, a can of fruit, and can of veggies, and a desert. If items come in like that, we leave them bagged like that to give out. It's really, simple, if you give a box of Tuna Helper, get the tuna to go with it.

Some who need help are also on food stamps, but they don't stretch far enough. I know of a senior couple who get $68 a month for them to eat on. You can't feed 2 on $68 a month. Many people are not aware that food stamps do not cover toilet paper, soap, shampoo, women's monthly items or deodorant. Its nice to include those items as well.

Right now I am working with a young lady who I am giving food to directly. On my way to take it to her, I am going to stop the store and get her some frozen chicken breasts, ground hamburger, bread, milk and eggs, bag of potatoes, and a bag of mixed fruits (apples, oranges, grapefruit).

Also, remember that many are down on their luck and not proud of the fact they are going to the center for help. Give them the respect that you would want.

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Comment Was this helpful? 1
January 9, 20170 found this helpful

Excellent suggestions. My friend's church sets up a sliding pay scale. Even if a person pays a dime for a bag of food, they pay something, and it gives them some dignity.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

3 found this helpful
November 5, 2009

For all you hunters out there, remember the food pantries and the homeless when your freezer gets filled up and your friends don't need any more venison or wild game. Everybody can benefit from your sport.

By Elyag from Rochester, NY

Comment Was this helpful? 3
November 7, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you! Not every food pantry can store and distribute fresh meat, but I'm sure it's in short supply at those that can do it. If someone's local pantry can't handle fresh meat, the people there would probably be happy to help match you to a family who could really use it if you gave it to them directly!

I'm trying to imagine being enough in need to have to go to a food pantry--all too common in the current economy--and then having some generous hunter offer my family fresh venison. What a welcome treat that would be, right when it's most needed!

You're a good person for making this suggestion. I wish I could give your tip ten "thumbs up"!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
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Read More Comments

My frugal self sometimes gets carried away with triple coupon offers and BOGO's. Then comes the day that I realize I have two large jars of mayonnaise, three bottles of ketchup, etc.

Comment Was this helpful? 2
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