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9 Common Items Your Local Food Bank and Homeless Shelter Needs, but Rarely Receives

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photo-feed-americaDonating to your local food bank or homeless shelter is always appreciated. Call up one of your local churches, or just go to FeedingAmerica.org–the site will direct you to a local drop off hub.

1. Toiletries
These are hard to come by, and if you’re in need, they can be a bit expensive  many food stamp programs don’t allow for people to buy toilet paper or any other non-food items. Package together toilet paper and basic toiletries, like toothpaste, soap, lip balm, and deodorant, to drop off at your local homeless shelter.

2.  Herbs and Spices
The quality of donated food is usually going to be a bit bland  donated spices could really turn a meal around. Cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, seasoned salt, nutmeg, oregano, basil  all appreciated.

3. Baby Formula
Ever notice that a lot of stores keep their baby formula under lock and key? It’s because it’s a highly stolen item. There’s a desperate need for formula  always. To tack onto this: wipes, diapers, and baby food.

4. Can Openers
Most food items will be canned, but there are never enough can openers to go around.

5. Socks
Enough socks can’t be donated this year or any year  especially with this year’s winter.

6. Jars of Peanut Butter and Jelly
These two staples are considered gold by food banks and they’re in constant need. A simple donation, but this one makes a massive difference.

7. Dry Milk and Dry Butter
Food bank recipients get tons of things like boxed mac & cheese and cereal, but since a lot of these locations can’t take perishable items, a lot of food items are impossible to prepare.

8. Dog Food
In my neck of the woods (Long Beach, California), dog food (the big bags of the dry stuff) is in high demand, thus always out of stock. Lots of people in need still have dogs that need food made specifically for their diet.

9. Money
Lots of homeless shelters and food banks have relationships with big-corporation donors that sell said shelters and food banks food, toiletries, and household supplies at a ridiculously cut rate. Your $1 is probably worth closer to $10 when these shelters and banks buy the items themselves. Also, a lot of these places are 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, thus your donation is tax-deductible.

Photo credit: FeedingAmerica.org

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