Food banks are popping almost everywhere, and it’s great. They are grateful for any help, but if you’re planning on making a donation, make sure that it’s an effective one. Before you donate to your local food bank, it’s a good idea to check first the items they need and the ones they won’t accept. This way, you will have a more productive time at the grocery store, and you will be able to help the food bank with their supplies.
It’s easy to fill your cart with delicious, instant, and junk-y food stuff. In fact, a lot of food banks have them. Always keep in mind that the people who benefit from these food banks don’t have a lot to eat, which could mean they lack nutrition. That is why when donating food items, make sure that they’re healthy and nutritious.
What Food Banks Don’t Need
Before you do grocery shopping or raid your pantry for things to give to a local food bank, you need to know what they don’t need first. Many people tend to give away items that aren’t necessary. To prevent this from happening, we have compiled a list of the items you shouldn’t donate to a food bank.
Foods in Glass Jars
Pickles, sauces, and other goods are often in glass jars. They should be avoided when donating to a food bank. Glass jars can shatter in transit, which would damage other goods.
Okay, not all food banks can’t accept fresh dairy, but you need to be mindful of this. Should you donate fresh dairy, you must double-check with the food bank first if they allow it. If they do, make sure it’s properly packaged and shelf-stable.
Bulk Food Items
Bulk-buying of foods, such as bags of rice, sugar, etc. may seem like a great idea, but you shouldn’t donate bulky food items because many food banks don’t have re-packaging resources to distribute them properly. Should you buy in bulk, perhaps consider repacking them first before donating them to a food bag. On the other hand, you can stick to family-sized bags and boxes.
Some food banks could give you some candy, but there is now a growing number of food banks asking people not to donate sweets. This is because they’re prioritizing to give away nutritious foods to families instead.
Not all food banks accept produce and meat; that is why it pays to double-check. Some food banks may be able to accept this, but it will depend on the existing resources and facilities, and most food banks don’t have them. Again, double-check before you donate!
Sure, it may seem like a nice gesture to make some batches of cookies you made with your cookies, from scratch, but remember: food banks won’t be able to accept items that aren’t packed well. That’s why unless you can have them packaged well that will meet food banks’ certain standards, just buy from the grocery store.
If you think you can give away your leftovers to food banks, think again. These leftovers are similar to homemade baked goods that are not allowed. Instead of giving them to a food bank, why don’t you whip up something different with your leftover food? Get creative!
It is true that food banks often have high-sugar cereals and junk foods. While food banks are happy to accept all donations, if you really want to contribute the best items, always go for nutritious ones, such as a healthier box of cereal, tuna, etc. Fortunately, you can get healthy stuff that are delicious these days. What’s important is that you donate nutritious items. Remember, these are families that need them the most!
What Do Food Banks Need
Now, the question is, what do they really need? It’s essential to have a general idea of what food banks DO need.
Some of the items that will be very much appreciated in food banks are:
Are you ready to make more effective donations to food banks today? Of course, you do! Knowing what food banks don’t need and what they need will go a long way; and you will be able to help a lot of families who need them most.
As time continues to carry on in this unpredictable and frankly, unprecedented climate, one thing continues to be true for the Second Harvest of the Greater Valley, that people are still in need of nourishment. In one way or another, we’ve all been hit hard by the pandemic, but charities and agencies like us are the ones that have seemed to have suffered the most. That being said, there is still so much good in this world and we’ve had the privilege of welcoming Chef Kat McDonnell from On the Scene Cuisine to create a delicious meal for some of our local seniors.
We’d like to take this time to celebrate the fact that over 200 meals were cooked for seniors in need locally this year for Easter. This spring, we knew it was especially imperative to bring some delicious and nutritious food to some of the most vulnerable members of our community. The past year has been arduous for us all, but isolation, loneliness, and anxiety have been especially difficult for older people. It’s amazing what a warm meal can do on a holiday to brighten someone’s spirits. As we’ve said, the past year hasn’t been easy for anyone, but holidays that are meant to be celebrated with friends and loved ones can be especially challenging for the oldest members of society.
We ran into several obstacles attempting to cook and deliver more than 200 meals in a day, and we were thinking we may have bitten off more than we could chew. (Pun not intended.) This was our first time organizing an event that asked the community to donate in a way that allowed us to prepare and deliver all these ready to eat meals. In the final hours, we has so many volunteers rise to the occasion by showing upp to help us drive meals all over the area.
Each meal included ham, potatoes au gratin, peas & carrots, rolls, and desserts, lovingly prepared by Chef Kat. Chef Kat is known to treat all who meet her like family, and that was certainly the case when it came to creating meals for those in need this Easter. She even took extra care to think about how those meals needed to be prepared based on whom would be eating them, senior with special dietary needs. For example, the ham was low sodium and she made sure to use a healthier options for the vegetables and deserts. Dinner was created and delivered hot for our seniors to enjoy, further underscoring the enormous efforts of all of our volunteers and their even more enormous hearts.
While it was exciting to be able to feed some seniors in need, there isn’t a moment that passes that doesn’t remind every member of our team that there are still many people in need. It can be difficult to consider how many people are without regular nutritious meals, but there are things we can all do, like donating or volunteering to an organization like ours. Our ethos is based upon our unwavering commitment to fight hunger locally by feeding anyone in need.
At Second Harvest of the Greater Valley, part of our message includes the spreading of hope, which is also integral to our mission, and a person’s overall wellbeing. Even the smallest feelings of hope can be the impetus for big changes. In addition, as a Partner of Feeding America, we value the diversity of the individuals we serve and always endeavor to treat each other with dignity and respect.
We want to thank the many people that donated money to help us purchase and deliver all these meals. Thank you to Chef Kat for preparing, cooking, and packaging all the meals. Thank you to all the volunteers that made the delivery of these meals possible. And thank you to all the seniors for the warm smiles you welcomed us with as we brought you this Easter meal.
We’ve Changed Our Name from Second Harvest Food Bank of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties to Second Harvest of the Greater Valley.
While one of the reasons we changed our name is to enable us to be easier to find, it has left some of our community, especially donors, a little confused. Luckily, we’re here to tell you that our ambitions are the same, just our name has changed. You can call us Second Harvest of the Greater Valley. Our ultimate driving force is the idea that possibilities are endless when we work together. In the realm of charity, collaboration can make amazing things possible.
We’d like to take this opportunity to underscore the fact that our PDO’s possess their own fundraising efforts, and at Second Harvest of the Greater Valley, we consider ourselves more of a hub of support. Did you know that 35,000 individuals are in need each month in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and the Gold Country?
Second Harvest of the Greater Valley collects and donates purchased food from a variety of donors, agency partners, and even program sites, where it is thoughtfully prepared and then distributed to those in need in our community.
In keeping with the spirit of this update, we’d also like to let you know that we are taking all the proper precautions to protect our volunteers, employees, and recipients alike. The need for food banks and food assistance programs like us doesn’t cease in a pandemic. Instead, the demand for charitable services has actually gone up exponentially.
Please note the following COVID precautions we’re taking at Second Harvest of the Greater Valley:
There may be challenges aplenty right now, but with the support of donors like you, we can continue to feed over 35,000 people monthly in the Greater Valley, and now, more than ever, we need assistance from the community. In an arduous and unpredictable climate, food scarcity issues become more serious, and part of our ethos is our unwavering commitment to fight hunger locally by feeding anyone in need. Part of our message also pertains to the spreading of hope, which is also integral to our mission. We value the diversity of the individuals we serve and always endeavor to treat each other with dignity and respect.