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Food Bank Donation Checklist

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A food bank volunteer checking the food donations they have received while holding a clipboard.

Food banks are a vital resource in our community that can help provide food and support for those in need. While it’s common to associate food bank donations with holidays or colder months, the truth is that the need for assistance exists throughout the year.

So what do food banks need? There are some items food banks need all year round, including non-perishable items, personal care items, and perishables, and with rising food prices, the need is currently higher than ever. Knowing what your food bank needs can help you make a lasting impact for individuals and families experiencing food insecurity in Brampton.

Break the Seasonal Stereotype

Hunger is not seasonal. It doesn’t take a vacation during the warmer months, only to visit during the holidays. The need for food assistance persists throughout the year, affecting individuals and families regardless of the season.

While generous donations during peak times are heartwarming, hunger knows no boundaries of time or weather.

As temperatures rise, so does the misconception that a food bank needs less. This means those hazy summer days present unique challenges for food banks. Donations tend to decrease during summer, resulting in potential gaps in assistance, and many food banks face the chance of running out of food during this time of year.

The reality is that even without the December chill, individuals and families still face financial hardships and require support to put food on their tables. But, by recognizing this seasonal dip, we may be able to change the general trend and help feed those experiencing food insecurity, even when the weather is warm.

The Rising Cost of Food

The rising cost of food affects everyone, but its impact is exceptionally hard-hitting for those already struggling with food insecurity, making it difficult to afford an adequate supply of nutritious food. As grocery bills increase, budgets shrink, leaving many with no choice but to turn to food banks for assistance.

The need for food bank services has been steadily increasing, fueled by the economic challenges of inflation. Families who once managed to get by now find themselves relying on food banks to meet their most basic needs. The strain placed on food banks is growing as they work tirelessly to ensure no one goes hungry.

Your donations can help make a difference in the lives of those affected.

Food Bank Donation Checklist

You can check your local food bank to see what food donation items the community needs the most, but some items are required on a regular basis. A food bank generally needs a stock of grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables, and pantry staples with a high shelf life.

a man gives a food donation to a woman volunteering at a food bank

Non-Perishable Food Items

When considering food donations, non-perishable items are a great place to start. These items have a long shelf life and are versatile, making them ideal for stocking food bank shelves.

Essential non-perishable food items include:

  • Canned goods (vegetables, beans, soups, fruit, & meat)
  • Pasta & sauce
  • Powdered milk
  • Boxed mac & cheese
  • Granola bars
  • Oil
  • Cereal (hot & cold)
  • Baby food/formula
  • Tea bags
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Juice boxes
  • Items for school lunches

Personal Care & Hygiene Products

Some people forget, but a food bank can be about more than just food. Basic personal care needs are often overlooked when it comes to donations but still vital for overall well-being. 

Consider donating personal care items, such as:

  • Toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Baby diapers
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Dish soap

These essentials can make a world of difference in someone’s life, reminding them that they matter and are cared for.

Food Rescue Programs & Perishable Food

It is generally encouraged to donate non-perishable food items and personal care products, as they are consistently the items that are of greatest need in a food bank. But, organizations like Regeneration Outreach Community partner with grocers, food suppliers and producers who help supply their food bank with perishable food items. This food rescue program helps bring in thousands of pounds of perishable items every week to the food bank and in turn provides fresh food for so many individuals and families. 

Food rescue requires a lot of time and effort from staff and volunteers, and Regeneration’s food rescue team is always looking for new volunteers who can pick up and deliver these donations on a weekly basis. Are you interested in getting involved? Please visit our volunteer page to get started!

Community Care All Year Round

The commitment to fighting hunger goes beyond seasonal giving.

Your contributions matter. Your sustained support throughout the year helps Regeneration Marketplace meet rising needs for support and bridge the seasonal gaps. We serve hundreds of families and individuals each week—donate today and keep the meals coming.

Together, we can work for a future where no one in our community goes hungry.

Written by Dan Gibson

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