Food banks are a great resource for those living on limited to no extra funds after rent and other life necessities are paid for. And, although I feel bad about even being picky from receiving donated food, these suggestions could make a world of difference:
- Think about the meals people will be eating from the food you’re providing. Pudding is great as a treat, but salsa with nothing to dip into it is depressing.
- Not all people on limited incomes have a place to cook their meals. Providing items that are easy to heat up is ideal.
- Some people may not have access to a fridge or freezer, so frozen items only work for those people who have the luxury of cold storage.
- Fresh items such as fruit, vegetables and bread are always welcome. A limited income makes it difficult to eat healthy.
- If you’re providing the bags the food is in, please make them durable for all kinds of weather. You may remember my trip a few years back to the food bank where they gave me paper bags which broke apart as I got off the bus in the rain. Encourage people to bring their own bags.
- Provide recipe suggestions for items given, especially if it’s not apparent which items go together. For example, pasta and sauce make sense, but coconut milk, apples and bread make less sense. Supercook provides recipe suggestions from ingredients you’ve included, but not everyone has access to a computer at home.
Anyone can get to a point where they need the support of a food bank or soup kitchen. It’s not only income assistance and disability recipients in the lines. Often it’s single parents, students and the elderly. Poverty does not discriminate.