“What are the best types of non-perishable foods to donate?” CAFB Answers.

February 17th, 2011 § 1 comment

Actual food donations to the Capital Area Food Bank.

While fresh foods are an important part of CAFB’s aid, non-perishables are also a vital resource (and they may be easier for you to donate). We can make the most of your non-perishable food donation when you consider three things: nutrition, usefulness, and quality vs. quantity.


1. Nutrition
We aim to provide people with the healthiest food possible. Meats, whole grains, nuts, beans/legumes, fruits and vegetables are all great options to help give back in the best way. Here are some suggestions for each of the categories:

Canned Fish and Meats
(especially cold water fish)
Whole Grains
  • Tuna
  • Rice (Brown, Wild)
  • Sardines
  • Steel-cut or rolled oats
  • Wild salmon
  • Whole grain dry cereals (at least 5 grams fiber/serving)
  • Whole grain pastas (whole wheat or brown rice flour)
Fruits and Vegetables Dried herbs and spices to flavor beans, grains, etc.
  • Canned, packed in water versus syrup
Dried Fruits (preferably no added sugar): Canned Soups, Beans and Legumes
  • Blueberries
  • Black beans
  • Prunes
  • Kidney beans
  • Cranberries
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Goji berries
  • Lentils
  • Mango
  • Low-sodium soups
  • Apple
Whole Unsalted Nuts and Seeds Other great things to donate:
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Green and white tea
  • Almonds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Walnuts
  • Honey
  • Pistachios
  • 100% fruit juice

2. Usefulness

It’s helpful to think about how practical your donation will be. While we encourage you to give what you can, it’s most beneficial for us to provide our clients with food they will actually use. We’re unable to accept alcohol of any kind and home-canned goods. Remember,  if that canned  item has been sitting in the back of the pantry for an unknown amount of time, it’s probably best to leave that donation at home.


We would prefer non-perishable quality proteins because these are often left out of donations. Canned fish and other meats are great forms of protein in a longer lasting, useful form.


3. Quality vs. Quantity

We encourage you to give the best food possible, but also realize you have a budget. If you can afford to donate organic items, great. If not, that’s ok, too. Budget-friendly, but generally nutritious foods make the biggest impact.


Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what food you give and how much to donate. However, just remember that your donations are a fundamental part of our goal to provide the healthiest, most useful food to our community.

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