Here’s What You Should Donate to Food Banks

Make a list

Maria Shimizu Christensen


Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Look, the most important thing you can donate to a food bank is money. They can do more with a few bucks than you or I can, and every dollar helps keep their doors open, serving people in their communities. That said, if you need or want to donate food, that’s also welcome. There’s a lot of need out there.

Being a food bank client isn’t easy. I know because I was one, many years ago. You don’t typically get enough food to feed yourself or your family for more than a few days. You can feel shame and embarrassment. Your creativity is stretched to the limits trying to figure out how to turn donations into meals.

And that’s a problem. A big problem. If you have mad cooking skills you can turn almost anything into a decent meal. If you’re already stressed up to your eyeballs, are busy trying to survive, don’t have a lot of cooking skills, and have limited resources, it’s a huge and daunting challenge to eat well from food bank donations.

We can change that with a simple list.

We donate to food banks because we want to help. Our hearts are in the right place and our intentions are good. Let’s align our hearts and intentions with the needs. With a list.

· Shelf-stable milks — real and alternatives

· Butter

Why: blue boxes of macaroni and cheese are ubiquitous on food bank shelves. Rarely a week went by when I didn’t get one. But, you need milk and butter to make it. You can just use nothing but water, and I’ve done that, but it doesn’t taste great. Rice-a-Roni also calls for butter and it’s a popular donation. Milk is also for cereal, which is often available on the shelves. There was more bread than there were clients at the food bank I went to, thanks to local grocery stores, but having butter means having toast. Milk and butter are also useful in baking, for those who can bake at home, and you can cook eggs and vegetables in butter.

· Eggs in half dozen containers

· Canned tuna

· Canned beans

· Peanut butter

· Dried split peas

Why: Protein is important in a healthy diet. Meat and seafood are expensive…



Maria Shimizu Christensen

Writer. Maker. Featured in Medium’s 2021 list of Stories That Started Conversations. I write about life.