- Canned chicken, tuna, and ham
- Hearty, ready-to-go meals like beef stew and chili with meat
- Canned vegetables
- Canned fruit and individual fruit cups – they are often low on these
- Snack items for kids to take to school: juice boxes, individual fruit cups or applesauce, granola bars, single-serving bags of Cheese-Its, or even cookies and pudding cups for a treat
- For infants: formula and infant cereal (No jars of baby food)
- Single serve macaroni & cheese
- Canned tomatoes and pasta sauce
- Shelf stable milk and alternatives (rice, soy, etc.)
- Low-sugar cereal like plain Cheerios
- Peanut or other nut butter, especially crunchy
- Packages of instant oatmeal
- Whole grain pasta, fortified pasta, brown rice
- Biscuit or baking mixes (that only require water)
- Spices like cinnamon, oregano, basil, salt, pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Common foods for the next holiday coming up
- Coffee and treats. It’s not a necessity but just a pick-me-up would sure be appreciated.
Consider some of these items as well:
Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spices, pickles, olives, cake mix and frosting, pudding mix, granola bars, popcorn, marshmallows (for making easy rice crispy bars), gluten-free/Paleo friendly options, instant oatmeal that comes in the little single serve packages, baby supplies, feminine hygiene products, toiletries/personal care items, underwear and socks, coffee, treats, and reusable shopping bags.
Ask what they need
Take a minute to call and ask what they might be short on at the time and if they have a list of items they can’t accept. Consider setting a reminder to check back with your food shelf in March, July, and September when the need for donations may not be getting as much visibility as it does at the end of the year. See if they could use help from time to time – volunteer.