How to Make the Greatest Impact with Your Food Drive Donations

April 19, 2017 09:14 AM

Hunger is a real problem in our community and food drives are an important tool to help our hungry neighbors, but not all food is created equal. Some food donated to food drives simply can't be used.

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The Head of the Lakes United Way (HLUW) stopped by GMN Wednesday to offer some tips on how to make the greatest impact with your food donations. 

Alex Byom, an event planner with HLUW, showcased some foods they call "sleeper" items. These are items to try to avoid donating since they can't or won't be used. Some examples Byom highlighted were skin skunk sausage, slugs, clam juice, unmarked cans, and foods with damaged packaging.  

“We obviously appreciate any and all donations but last year we did end up with about 2,000 pounds of unusable, un-donatable foods,” said Byom. "We just want to be mindful of our resources and volunteers that give their time.”

While "sleeper" items are foods to avoid, "star" items are foods that are needed.

“You can think of those, as you reach for the stars, we want our community members to reach for the "star" items on the shelves at the grocery store,” explained Rachel Loeffler-Kemp, the HLUW Community Services Director.

"Star" items are the high-demand, high-need foods. Loeffler-Kemp says "star" items include pasta, mac n' cheese, canned fruits and vegetables, and high-protein foods, such as tuna and peanut butter.

“They have the greatest impact in our area and if you think about it, these are items that families and folks who are using the food bank are really going to need going into the summer months,” she said.

You can put these food donation tips to use next month. The 25th Anniversary of the Letter Carrier's Food Drive is Saturday, May 13. Residents are asked to put out a bag of donated food by 9 a.m. to be picked up by a letter carrier or volunteer. You can find more details here


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