What Food Banks Need

Tangential Inspiration is planning its own neighborhood food drive in Beaverton, Oregon for Mother’s Day 2021. In setting up this food drive we have done some research on what food banks actually want and need. We all remember from school canned food drives, that people like to give garbanzo beans, corn, and string beans. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but people with food insecurity need good staples that can feed a family. For most food banks, the items must be non-perishable, but beyond that there are some items that are pretty high on their list. Keep in mind the next time you are at Costco, or another big box store, and you see some of the items, how little it might cost you, but how much it might make a difference to others. Here is our FOOD BANK MOST WANTED LIST:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Canned Soup
  • Canned or Dried Fruit
  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Stew and Chili
  • Canned Beans
  • Dried Beans
  • Canned Fish (tuna and salmon)
  • Canned Meat (chicken, Spam, ham)
  • Pasta (most prefer whole grain)
  • Rice (most prefer brown rice)
  • Unsweetened applesauce
  • Cooking oils
  • Dried herbs and spices
  • Canned sauces (like pasta sauce or tomato sauce)
  • Packaged nuts
  • Crackers
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Meals in a box (like Macaroni and cheese, but look for healthier options)
  • Shelf-stable and powdered milk
  • MONEY DONATIONS– this is incredibly helpful and allows food banks to make arrangements to purchase many items they can’t accept as donations.
  • Grooming and toiletries. Check to see if your food bank takes things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, combs, feminine hygiene products, soap, shampoo, etc.

What Not To Donate

  • Food items that need refrigeration. They use money donations to provide fresh food and baked goods.
  • Items packaged in glass (they can break during transit).
  • Junk food.
  • Try to find canned food that does not require a can-opener.
  • Food past its expiration date, even if canned.
  • Food in damaged packaging (like dented or bulging cans).
  • Left-overs.

Useful Resources

For more information about food insecurity, help finding a food bank, or help finding food resources, try the following links:

WhyHunger – links to help find food banks and other food resources and a mission to end hunger.

Feeding America– a website dedicated to solving food insecurity in the United States.

Action Against Hunger– a world-wide hunger relief organization combating food insecurity in nearly 50 developing countries.

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