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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

What should not be donated to the food bank?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (17697points) November 23rd, 2015

Last year I put a bunch of King sized Caramilk chocolate bars in the food bank drop off. I was told not to do that again. I thought that the poor would like a treat instead of Lima beans and Pumpkin mix. What should and should not go into the food bank? What would be a treat that can be donated?

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9 Answers

janbb's avatar

Different food banks have different rules. Ours does not allow any past their sell-by date or dented cans. I think candy in fresh condition would be ok although I’ve never seen it. You should check with the rules for yours.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, I wouldn’t donate dented cans or anything perishable, but things like a bag of fresh potatoes, apples or oranges would be fine I think.
I believe in donating things that I would choose to eat and not the stereotyped welfare fare. Instead of canned peas or rice or macaroni or oatmeal, maybe substitute canned fruits, applesauce, hearty dry soup mixes, boxes of cinnamon graham crackers, other crackers, peanut butter, almond butter, jams and jellies, brownie, cake and muffin mixes, granola bars, tins of cookies, dried fruits, certain candy, etc.
Adding some dry & canned pet foods also. Lots of good buys on canned cat and dog food where you can get 10–20 cans of name brand foods for a bargain price.

Lots of poor people have pets too.

jaytkay's avatar

I worked for a couple of years at a food bank.

Cash is BY FAR the best contribution. We could buy cases and cases of canned food and bags and bags of rice and beans and tons of vegetables and fruite for very little money.

But random little donations were very time consuming and not very useful. We had do sort them and screen them for expiration dates.

Eat your leftover groceries. If you won’t eat it, why do you expect others to?

Give your money and/or time to the food bank.

Cruiser's avatar

I think @jaytkay gives the best answer you can get. Just as a reference, here is the needed items list from our local food bank.

Just to add…I have heard that food banks and shelters are overwhelmed with donations this time of year and they told me they would like to see donations spread out throughout the year.

flo's avatar

Food that go bad easily.
Clothes that are not clean, or are damaged in some way.

Fathdris's avatar

I think the problem with chocolate is the lack of nutritional content. Chocolate is often full of fat and sugar, with very little else.

Also, ask yourself this… If you were homeless or in otherwise in need of food from a foodbank, would you prefer a chocolate bar, or a can of stew that can probably feed 2 to 4 people? Lollies or a can of veggies?

I don’t think you’re a bad person for putting the chocolate in… far from it. Your heart was in the right place and you were still giving to the needy. I just think you could have done more to help with a can of something, rather than the chocolate :)

EDIT: As for treats that should be donated? I’d say canned fruit is the best treat. It’s still sweet but contains a lot of nutrients, and unlike fresh fruit, will take a lot longer to go off.

majorrich's avatar

Never really thought about what not to bring. I always give toilet paper in as big a quantity as I can. As much food as they get, there’s still gotta be poo.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

From my own experiences of volunteering at food banks:

Nothing in a glass jar or bottle. The workers don’t have the time or ability to handle fragile items and make sure they don’t break. Unfortunately, this rules out some good items, such as applesauce, pre-made tomato sauce, jams and jellies, and many condiments.

None of the “gourmet” things that people receive in gift baskets, don’t want, and eventually discard – capers, exotic sauces and spreads, dry sausage or salami, smoked salmon and canned fish, etc. Please don’t clean-out your pantry by sending cast-offs to a food bank. Hungry children and the elderly sick don’t need that stuff any more than you do.

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