The Coalition receives phone calls and emails each day from people who want to get involved in the fight against hunger. Most often, people look to volunteer at a local food pantry or soup kitchen. For these requests, we direct volunteers to our Food Pantry Map, which was recently updated and now includes more than 400 food pantries and soup kitchens, many of which could use volunteers to work a shift or serve a meal.
However we also talk with people who want to hold a food drive at their school or office. Once we determine a pantry that could use the donation the next question usually is: "What kind of food should we collect?"
While any food donation is appreciated, many people who rely on food pantries and soup kitchens cannot afford healthy, more nutritious food. That is why we suggest, whenever possible, to host a healthy food drive. Healthy food items provide not only immediate relief to families in need, but also vital nutrients that more processed foods cannot.
So what items belong in a healthy food drive? Use this list as a guide. We created it for our two Green Light Pantries which provide only healthy food, but any pantry or soup kitchen would benefit from items on this list.
- Whole grain cereals, low-sugar (oatmeal, Cheerios)
- Whole grain bread
- Whole grain dried pasta
- Brown rice (1-2 lb. bag)
Fruits & Vegetables
- Canned fruits packed in juice or water
- Low or no sodium canned vegetables
- Fresh fruits and vegetables (Note: Please call pantry first before donating perishable items)
- Dried fruits (no added sugar)
Meants & Proteins
- Canned fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)
- Peanut butter (natural)
- Dried or canned beans (low -or no- sodium)
- Dry Milk
- Quart of skim or 1% shelf stable milk
- Evaporated skim milk
- Olive oil or canola oil
- Dried spices
Download this list to use at your school or office!