I have been working a lot lately with the Food Bank and the Buddy Pack program. It's great, I'm sure you've heard of it. And I'm sure you've heard of the great work Jack Menges and his group are doing over at the Open Door.  So I was thinking about their upcoming food drive with the USPS, and it got me to googling. A survey on Reddit.com asked volunteers what items people would be most appreciative of and we’ve listed the top 10 below. If you’re looking for an easy way to help out, pick some of these up while shopping and drop them off at one of our area food banks.

1. Spices and seasonings.

Think about it. People who rely on the food bank eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, white bread, etc. They love spices. Seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, basil and so on. It's important, and it won't go bad.

2. Feminine Products.

Can you imagine being worried about affording these? Pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. Teenage girls and women all over will be appreciative.

3. Chocolate.

People don’t need it, but think about being in their shoes and how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar or brownie mix along with your essentials. It would be such a nice perk me up. And think about the look on the kids' faces when they get surprised with a treat!

4. Toiletries.

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

5. Canned meats and jerky.

This isn’t true of all food banks, but some struggle to give users enough protein. And again, this is something else that won't go bad immediately.

6. Crackers and tortillas.

They don’t spoil and everybody likes them.  And you can use them in all sorts of ways.

7. Baby toiletries.

Diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby food, bottles, etc. Those things can get REALLY expensive really quickly, especially for people with more than one kid.

8. Soup packets.

Sometimes you look at rice, beans, instant potatoes, and cans of vegetable and think, “What do I make with this?” Hearty soup is a complete meal. And if you donate those packets of Onion soup, they can use that for all sorts of different meals.

9. Socks.

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

10. Canned fruit other than pineapple.

Food banks get a lot of pineapple donated. Their clients love it when other kinds of fruit are available. I mean, of course they're grateful for whatever they get, but imagine if you had ONLY pineapple as your fruit.. that would get old quick. Maybe some Mandarin Oranges?

And remember! Food banks love cash donations because it allows them to buy whatever they need!  They'll be around with the Postal Service on May 13.  Get more information by calling Julie Taylor, the lady who is in charge of the drive, at the office at 826-8887.

Donatingly yours,


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