According to the recent report from USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), more than 37 million people don't get enough food on their plates regularly. The food insecurity is rising among families, especially among the ones having children in their families. As of now, more than 11 million children live with families that are food insecure. All these stats are horrifying, and if you want to give back to society and the under-privileged, then you should search for 'food banks near me' and donate food as per your will.
If it's your first time with a food donation or otherwise, then you may not have the right knowledge about what food you should donate to the food bank and what food to avoid. Below are the dos and don'ts of food donation at the food bank; it will help you donate the best food to the food bank.
Dos of Food Donation
1 Protein Sources
Protein foods are the most needed for any food bank. You can find the local food bank by looking for 'food banks near me' and donate them protein sources. Canned fish and canned meat, and vegetarian protein sources like peanut butter, beans, are all the best foods you can donate to the food bank.
A family that cannot afford to buy meat will get genuinely benefitted from your donation. These are some food suggestions – Canned salmon or tuna, canned meats, canned beans, dry beans, nuts, peanut butter, and canned soup and stews.
2 Staple Food Like Rice, Pasta
Foods that can help prepare a variety of dishes and have a great shelf life are the smart donations you can make to the food bank. The staple food items that you have at your home are the most significant need for food banks as well. You should donate food according to your region.
Some of the common food suggestions are – Whole grain rice and pasta, oatmeal, canned vegetables, cooking oils, flour, and diced tomatoes, etc. Rice and oatmeal are easy to prepare, and they are not only nutritious but filling as well.
3 Side Dishes and Holiday Food Ingredients
Cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin, and stuffing mix are some of the items that can help a family enjoy a holiday meal when they are starving. Some families cannot afford to make holiday dishes like ham or turkey. But even if they are making chicken, then they can at least enjoy some of the side dishes of a holiday meal. Here are some suggestions – canned yams, canned pumpkin, cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing, and dried macaroni, and so on.
Now that you know which foods are the best choices for donating to the food bank, all you need to do is shop for those groceries and then donate.
Don'ts of Food Donation
1 Carbonated Drinks and Junk Foods
Foods filled with nutrition and have a good shelf life are the requirements of people that don't get adequate food. If you look for 'food banks near me' and approach them, then you will realize that food banks receive unnecessary amounts of chips, candy, and other treats. You may want to donate such items to break the redundancy of typical donations, but the most needed items by a food bank are high-quality, nutritious food.
Many food banks have more than enough amounts of junk food snacks, and people would indeed want to enjoy tasty meals. But instead, their crucial need is for the food items that can nourish their body and not just satisfy their palettes.
2 Damaged, Home-Canned Food
To maintain the high standards of food and food safety purposes, you should avoid donating meals with rusty or dented cans, and unlabeled food packages. It would be best if you also abstained from giving non-commercially packed food items. Such food items don't have a manufacturing date, and their expiry date is unpredictable too. They also don't have any nutritional information, and hence, food quality is likely to be inferior.
Food banks want to ensure that they are providing nutritious and healthy food, not the foods that can adversely affect the health of people. You should avoid donating expired food, home-made food. Also, please don't donate alcohol and other carbonated drinks like soda. You can check the guidelines of the food bank you are planning to donate and avoid perishable, opened containers food.
Donating food to the local 'food banks near me' is your best way of showing gratitude towards society. It will undoubtedly help someone get their extra meal while they are suffering from food insecurity. Whole grains, protein sources, and canned foods are some of the beneficial donations you can make to the food bank. By reading the dos and don'ts above, you can learn which food to donate and to avoid.