The current recession and rising unemployment mean more people are using food pantries than ever. I volunteer at a food pantry and one of the things that surprised me—which, duh, really, it's just common sense—is that some food items are more valuable than others. Knowing this, I did some research to determine which food items were most needed. Keep these in mind next time you plan to donate...
According to Carrie McCormack, West Pantry Coordinator for the Lakeview Pantry in Chicago (which is the food pantry in my community), the following non-perishable, expensive, and nutritious items are always in high demand:
- Breakfast cereal
- Vegetable or fruit juice
- Jelly (to go with peanut butter)
- Canned meats (like tuna and chicken)
- Canned soups and stews
- Canned fruit
Carrie also said it's good to donate personal hygiene items—things we often use every day and take for granted like toothpaste, paper products, shampoo, and soap.
To find a food bank or food pantry in your community, visit Feeding America.