What to Donate to a Food Drive

Give the gift of good health

Food pantry volunteers sort donations

The holiday season often includes food drives for neighborhood pantries, shelters, food banks, and soup kitchens. These programs depend on your generous food donations, so please give with a healthy heart in mind.

Give food that is nutritious and non-perishable, such as:

* Whole wheat or whole grain noodles and pasta
* Unsalted nuts, nut butter, and seeds (peanut butter, almond butter, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc.)
* Fruit canned in fruit juice (peaches, pears, applesauce, etc.)
* Canned beans (black, kidney, navy, garbanzo, etc.)
* Whole grain cereals
* Brown rice, oats, brand, quinoa
* Dried fruit
* Low-sodium soups and sauces
* Low-sodium canned vegetables (tomatoes, corn, green beans, etc.)
* Herbs and other low-sodium seasonings

Since you’re already shopping with healthy foods in mind for your own family, simply pick up a few extras to share with neighbors during the food drive.

A bowl of oatmeal with banana slices, almonds, and blueberries

After all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds us that a person’s zip code is more likely to determine their health than their genetic code. If your neighbors are healthy, you’ll likely be healthier, too.

Jump IN for Healthy Kids created a Healthy Pantry Packet in the Resource Hub that includes tools for hosting a taste test, a sample solicitation letter for volunteers, the healthy donations list, and family engagement information. Adapted from Let’s Go! www.letsgo.org and www.mainehealth.org.