Food donation items may be lurking in your cupboard

With the holiday season upon us, what better time to do an inventory of your cupboard or pantry?! If your cupboards are anything like mine, you likely have duplicate canned goods that you can take to a local charity in time for holiday feasts.

Over the span of a year, canned goods seem to accumulate at the back of the cupboard leaving me with multiple items of the same thing. It seems to be inevitable. So, take some time, unclutter your cupboards, and donate your extra cans to a worthy cause. (Be nice, too, and check to make sure that your cans haven’t passed their expiration dates!) On your way to the donation center, you may want to stop at the grocery store and buy some extra non-perishables for good measure.

14 Comments for “Food donation items may be lurking in your cupboard”

  1. posted by Searchgive Blog » Blog Archive » Giving Thanks and Canned Goods on

    […] overbought groceries and now have an overloaded pantry.  I just read a great post on the “unclutter blog” about what to do with all of your extra food. Over the span of a year, canned goods seem to […]

  2. posted by Marie on

    I find that this time of year is also great for organizing your refrigerator and pantry. Creating a system where different spaces are reserved for different types of food (i.e., leftovers, vegetables, spices, etc.) allows you to quickly see what is missing and easily access food when cooking.

  3. posted by AbramCove on

    People need food in other seasons as well.

  4. posted by Jayney on

    Great post!

    I would also suggest that instead of purchasing more non-perishables on your way to the food bank that you instead cut the organization a cheque in an equivalent amount.

    I hear time and again food banks much prefer cash donations to groceries, since they enjoy economies of scale when shopping, and can tailor the purchases to the food bank customers’ actual needs (instead of yet another can of green beans!).

  5. posted by Katie on

    I have my earthquake supplies organized by month of expiration so they can be moved along before they expire. I learned this the hard way — by having to dump a lot of food that could have gone to hungry folks.

  6. posted by Melinda on

    I work in my church pantry. It’s not a matter of being nice. Health guidelines say we CAN’T hand out items past expiration dates. And like AbramCove said, the pantries need filing at other times other than just the holidays. Specifically, our donations are lower in the summer months. Please if you choose to use your “undesireables” from your own pantry, please make sure that it’s not expired, and make sure you donate at other times of the year as well. Oh, we also write the expiration date on the can or box with a Sharpie so we see that easily.

  7. posted by Colon Cleanse on

    Over the years I have helped to set up some community food programs and always found that money was the best donation. Many food community banks are overstocked with items that are so odd. At times we would make suggested wish list sheets hoping people would be kind enough to donate: peanut butter, canned meat, beans…etc.

    Fun blog, enjoyed your Christmas suggestions….Di

  8. posted by Andamom on

    Me thinks someone from Unclutterer must work in my building! I have a canned food drive going on now — and have suggested to upteen number of people who whine a bit about giving that it is also an opportunity to declutter cabinets of packaged foods and cans that aren’t needed.

    Here are some other activities I am planning in the office:

  9. posted by Cornflower on

    As well as the requirement to not exceed expiration dates, it is important to preceed them by a period of time, and to not just give your “throwaways”. One thing I like about the “clean out the cupboard” idea is that we give the same standard as we eat ourselves. There are some things for which I don’t buy the noname brands for myself–it would be hypocritical to give those brands to someone else. So I heartily endorse this idea.

  10. posted by Monique on

    Another thing to consider in addition to the quality of the the food, is the type of food you are clearing out and donating. If you are not eating the “Mint Flavored Jalapeno Jelly” given to you as a gift or the jar of capers you bought for a special recipe but never made it is unlikely that food bank recipients would be able to use it either.

  11. posted by Nancy on

    Does anyone know a similiar place that would take all of my skincare products? I have so many & they could be doing much more for others than they are cluttering up my closets, cupboards, & counters, etc.

    On my way to clean out the kitchen cupboard & figure out who in NYC will take them. Would be great if Unclutter provided some links next time…although I do realize there are too many local places, but maybe there are some national organizations that have branches? (and yes, I know I can use google to figure it out, but I’d rather spend my time uncluttering than searching 😉 )

  12. posted by Erica on

    Regarding expiration dates, I am surprised to hear that your church can’t use food past the expiration date (presuming this is only regarding canned goods and other non-perishables). I volunteered at a food bank sorting donated food and the instructions we were given was that all non-perishables were still good for 2 years after the expiration date if the container was not compromised (dented cans did not count). Much of the food we were sorting was donated by groceries specifically because the expiration date had been reached.

    I am in DC, so maybe the rules vary by location?

  13. posted by Erica on

    Nancy, are these products opened? I can’t imagine any place could take an opened product, but women’s shelters will often take unopened products for the women who come in with nothing. I knew of one place in Dallas where I donated clothes and products (usually gifts that I didn’t want) and another place here in DC.

  14. posted by Melinda on

    You know… I honestly don’t know. It’s what I was told when I took over, and that’s only been about 3 months or so. I’m still learning.

    I had another comment. Most people who go to church pantries get food stamps. The things that they can’t get with food stamps are the things that seem to go the fastest. We are constantly needing toilet paper, paper towels and laundry soap. If you have a chance, these things are needed as well.

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