I don’t talk about it on the blog much but a couple of years ago I added some new responsibilities to my work life and one of those is overseeing the Food Pantry at the Council on Aging. This is both a rewarding and heartbreaking thing to do. It’s rewarding when we have lots of food to give away and it’s heartbreaking when our shelves are empty – something that happens all too frequently, unfortunately. This time of year, though, giving to others seems to be on everyone’s minds and we have lots of food and supplies. It’s great but what’s really great is when we get stuff that our families can really use. And that’s why today’s Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Items Your Local Food Pantry Can Use. And let me just say right up front: refried beans ain’t going to be on this list.
- Peanut butter. It’s nutritious, it’s loaded with protein, and it’s expensive. It’s our hottest commodity.
- Canned tuna fish. Personally, I think the best way to eat tuna is when it’s part of a Rainbow Roll but sushi isn’t something we offer at the food pantry. Canned tuna, though, is second only peanut butter in it’s propularity.
- Jelly. See #1.
- Spaghetti sauce. As much as we try to educate our families on preparing food from scratch as a great way to stretch a buck, a lot of our users are older and live alone. A jar of spaghetti sauce makes for an easy and quick meal for them.
- Pasta. See #4.
- Canned fruit. We don’t get fresh produce but canned fruit is a hot commodity and it disappears off our shelves very quickly.
- Cereal. I really recommend cereal that’s high in fiber and low in sugar but we do get the occasional box of Cap’n Crunch.
- Toothpaste. You can’t buy things like toothpaste with food stamps, did you know that?
- Toilet paper. The same rules apply to toilet paper as toothpaste and it really is a necessity. Ahem.
- Money and/or gift cards. This is a big one for us as it enables us to buy turkeys to distribute at Thanksgiving. And everyone deserves a turkey at Thanksgiving.
Donating to the food pantry in your community is a great way to do something that can really make a difference in someone’s life. The people I see every week are so grateful for the food we provide and that’s an incredible thing to see.
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