Where to Donate Food

by - Monday, January 20, 2020

The Great Donate 2020 is on! Can you donate, gift, or recycle 2,000 items out of your house this year? The average American household has 300,000 items in it- who needs that much? No one, but there are lots of people who could use what you have sitting collecting dust. Check out The Great Donate 2020 for more inspiration and ideas. 

Where to Donate Food

Food is actually one of the things we are most likely to donate; unfortunately we do sometimes make mistakes in how we do it. When we are emptying out our cupboards, it can be amazing what is still in there! And food waste is a big deal- food waste is one of the most major causes of climate change. Most of that food waste is happening on a business/ corporate level, so there is no reason to beat yourself up, BUT we can still take tiny chips out of this huge problem by taking a new approach to food (and where we give it) in our lives. So many people are grappling with hunger and poverty, so this can be a beautiful way to help.

If you take anything from this post, let it be this- do NOT donate your expired food to foodbanks or food kitchens unless they specifically say that you can. Expired food donations can be a huge waste of man power and financial resources for places like these- they have to pay for the garbage that gets sent out.

In other words, you have to come up with better solutions for your 10 year old jello box. The best way to avoid these sorts of situations is to clean out your kitchen often, and to not have an overflowing pantry where items are likely to hide away long past their expiration date.

Another way to avoid have food wasting in your cupboards? Meal plan. I know we didn't necessarily grow up that way, but I married a person who likes to keep a plan, and it keeps our house from being quite as overwhelmed with things we need to use/ potential food waste.

Now, if you have food to donate, people can definitely use the food sitting in your kitchen. Here are some steps to take to donate your food items so they get used:

1. Do your research- who is accepting food donations near you, and what do they need?

2. Look at Expiration Dates- I will give you ideas for both, but if the food is more than 6 months past expiration, your best bet is to just try Buy Nothing. One of your neighbors might feel more brave if they know the whole story behind the item.

3. Check the packaging- Bad dents, holes, and partially opened items probably won't be accepted by food pantries and kitchens. Save them time, and save the food, by setting those items aside and offering them elsewhere.

For Expired Items

Buy Nothing- The Buy Nothing Project is an localized online space where you can give and ask for gifts from your neighbors. Everything is free, and you can have better luck getting use out of items like expired food. I see people gift each other expired items, half empty gallons of milk, and more. This is a good space to offer food that isn't really suited to the larger bulk needs and requirements of service kitchens and pantries. A perfect way to build community and avoid waste.

Don't have a Buy Nothing? You could offer it on a freecycle group or just on your main facebook page. Offer things to friends before you throw them away.

For Non-Expired Items

Start Local- Check around what is most local to you; the shorter the distance your food travels, the better, because you are helping your neighbors avoid serious hunger. I know in the small town I am from, the churches have an alliance that centers on feeding people. Here, we live near a homeless shelter that always needs food and other items. Ask around with your neighbors and churches; there might be something right under your nose!

Check this website- If nothing comes up, trust me, you still have an option in driving distance. Check out the Feeding America website to start. Any search engine will probably find you something.

Where to Donate Food

Way to keep helping by giving what you have instead of topping it! Here's to another year of less waste and more helping!!

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