A few weeks ago, I read an article in my local paper about a student food drive that donated over 100kg of food to the food bank. It was a great reminder that food bank donations are needed and welcome twelve months a year. Last year, over 100,000 people in BC accessed food banks, and almost a third were children.
Seniors, families, youth on their own, people who are working or are between jobs, people living with disabilities and those living with mental illness all access the food bank. The high cost of living along with low wages or a fixed income can make it difficult for people to make their food dollars stretch through the month.
Ways to Give to the Food Bank
There are many ways to support community food banks, including donating food or money, purchasing BC Sharing coupons or organizing a food drive.
What high priority foods can I donate?
Food banks aim to offer healthy foods to support children’s healthy growth and development, and support people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Priorities for food donations include:
- Canned fish or meat like canned salmon, tuna and chicken
- Peanut butter
- Nuts, seeds and soy nuts
- Canned black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lentils
- Dried fruit and fruit canned in water or juice
- Canned stews and baked beans
- Canned vegetables and tomatoes
- Canned evaporated milk, instant skim milk powder, shelf stable (UHT) milk and UHT fortified soy beverage
- Whole grain cereals (hot or cold) and pasta, brown rice, quinoa
- Infant foods and infant formula
Many grocery stores make it easy for you to donate by having collection boxes near the exits. Try to remember to put a few of these items on your grocery list the next time you go shopping. Some stores have even packaged together many of the foods above for you to purchase and donate.
Cash donations either by cheque or online are very welcome. Food banks can buy in bulk and often at wholesale prices, which means that they can buy two to three dollars of food for every dollar donated. It’s a great way to make donations count for more.
Another option is Food Banks BC Sharing coupons. BC Sharing coupons are two dollars each and the coupons have provided BC food banks with almost one million dollars of needed items like fresh vegetables, fruit and other high priority foods each year. They are available at many grocery stores.
Food drives are another option. Families, neighbourhoods, community groups, students or groups of friends can team up to collect food or money to donate.
These are just some of the ways to support local food banks. What other ideas have you found to help out? Check out Food Banks BC for more information about the food bank near you and how to participate, donate and volunteer.
No matter what time of year, they welcome and need your support.