Whether or not you’re a frugal shopper you can probably admit that there is almost always an item or two you pick up that you know you’re never going to use.
Maybe it’s a because you had a coupon. Maybe it’s a store sale? Reduced? Priced to go? It’s going in your cart, going home with you and you’ll come across it in the back of the pantry a month or so from now wondering why exactly you bought that to begin with.
I encourage you to take a few minutes every few months to look through your inventory. Check and see what you have on-hand before it hits its expiration date. We all hate wasting food.
Most people will decide to donate to support organizations around the winter holidays. It’s the season of giving and as the weather gets cooler we remember the importance of helping the hungry. We don’t always consider the needs that increase during the summer months.
I’m a social media ambassador for my local food bank in North Carolina and fully support their Stop Summer Hunger campaign. This is a campaign that helps to point out the importance of contributing during the summer months, when children are out of school and not supported by their reduced or free lunches. Many kids find themselves with empty bellies – and families find themselves without the support of their local education system – which can often include backpacks filled with groceries and other essentials, along with school food banks that offer the same types of items for free.
If you’re trying to figure out what sorts of items your local food bank is in need of, consider this list of recommended essentials when you do your donation shopping.
How To Support Your Local Food Bank
Proteins: peanut butter, tuna, canned meats, nuts, protein bars, beef jerky, soups, stews, chilis
Grains: pasta, rice, beans (canned/dried), cereal, oatmeal
Fruits/Vegetables: individual fruit cups, mixed vegetables, applesauce
Kid-friendly: animal crackers, sandwich crackers, Goldfish, popcorn, granola bars, fruit strips/bites, juice boxes and pouches
Baby products: diapers, baby wipes, diaper rash cream, baby food (plastic containers), formula, infant cereal
Hygiene products: feminine products, toiletries, hand sanitizer, razors, shaving cream, facial cleanser
Household items: toilet paper, paper towel, disinfectant wipes, dish soap
An important reminder when you’re looking into purchasing items strictly for donation purposes – consider special dietary needs. Pick up a box of gluten-free granola bars, a no sugar added oatmeal, a Kosher soup mix. Consider that those with dietary restrictions, for health or religious purposes, may find themselves in need, as well.
And if you have any questions or additional donation ideas, please leave them in the comments below. I’d love to hear how you support those in need throughout the year and what organizations are important to you.