What are the best items to donate to a food drive?

During the holidays, many drives are held to help food banks feed families in need.

Instead of using a food drive as an opportunity to clean out the back of your pantry, select items you recently bought, or pick up a few extra products next time you grocery shop to make sure those who need it can receive quality nutrition and ingredients. 

According to the Houston Food Bank, here are some items that are the most needed:

  • High protein items like canned meat and fish packed in water
  • Grains like crackers and cereal
  • Peanut butter
  • Granola bars, other ready-to-eat protein snacks
  • Canned soups and pasta meals
  • Canned vegetables and beans, no salt added
  • Canned fruit packed in water or 100 percent juice

Here are some good tips for when shopping for or selecting goods to donate:

  • For canned products, pull-top is preferred 
  • Check expiration dates to make sure food hasn't spoiled
  • Perishable items cannot be accepted
  • Homemade items cannot be accepted
  • Select items packaged in cardboard, paper, or plastic, instead of glass to minimize breakage

A good rule of thumb to follow when donating food is to choose nutritious and tasty items that you yourself would be excited about feeding and preparing for your own family. 

Monetary donations are always welcome as well. The Houston Food Bank can provide three meals with every dollar donated.