How to Donate Food to a Charity
How to Donate Food
Hunger is a global issue that is widespread in both the wealthiest and most impoverished nations. Every little bit helps, but there is a constant need for support. Thankfully there are many organizations that make it easier than ever to get food to those in need both locally and internationally. With so many options available, it might be confusing, but really it’s easier than ever to start donating.
Donating Food Directly
Discover what institutions accept donations.Look for the variety of institutions accepting donations in your area. Depending on your location there many be any number of dedicated food banks, homeless shelters, domestic violence and abuse shelters, and youth homes that all accept regular food donations.
- Utilize online resources that find local food banks and food rescue programs based on your location, like these from: or .
- Check out local businesses like grocery stores or dollar stores, which regularly hold food drives for specific groups or events. Sometimes it’s as easy as paying for a few previously selected items at the register.
- Consider if anyone you know is struggling with hunger. If you have a neighbor or family member who is out of work or recovering from a major illness, bring over dinner or offer to do some grocery shopping for them.
Find out what can be donated.Sometimes there is a shortage of one type of food and an abundance of others. It’s usually safe to assume that most non-perishables, like canned food and uncooked rice or pasta will be accepted, but it is always better to ask.
- Consider the nutritional value of donations. When a person’s meals are extremely limited anything helps, but healthier items are the best.
- Use your best judgement on strange items. If the item in question is something that grosses you out, chances are they might gross out the recipient of the donation.
Gather the items you plan to donate.Many good candidates for donation can be found in your pantry, but it’s never a bad idea to buy items specifically to donate.
Check out the expiration dates on the food.You do not want to donate food that is past or nearing its expiration date. Make sure your items are at least 6 months within the date of expiration.
Check out the integrity of the packaging.Do not donate any heavily dented cans, boxes that are crushed, or anything leaking. Although most donation centers do this already, you can save them a lot of time by checking items before donating.
Deliver the food to designated places at designated times.Many institutions only collect items on certain days and times. Ask them for this information before you plan to make your drop-off.
Feeding the Hungry Without Direct Food Donation
Donate your money or property.Many international organizations cannot take food for logistical or other reasons, so donating money, an old car, or other valuables is the easiest way to reach those farthest away from you.
Donate your time.There are an overwhelming number of volunteer opportunities at the various institutions feeding the hungry. They can usually accommodate people of any age with any health concerns, and often the work is fun. Duties range from sorting fresh produce, to serving food at pantries, to answering phones, and many more.
Get Involved.Since hunger is an issue that seems to persist relentlessly, there is always a need for more action.
- Start a food drive of your own. This can be as easy as finding a recipient for your donations and getting the word out. Ask at your local donation center how you can make the biggest impact.
- Encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to join in when you are donating food, money, or time. Most institutions welcome groups of volunteers, and sometimes create healthy competition to make the work more fun and encourage repeat visits.
- Consider donating food to groups that help feed people with food allergies. Organizations such as FoodAllergy.org and KidsWithFoodAllergies.org collect specific foods that will not harm children and adults who have allergies.
- Donate food all year long. Most people focus their charitable efforts around holiday time, but people do not stop being hungry during the non-holiday months.
Video: Donate Surplus Food
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