The Best Items to Donate to Food Banks This Holiday Season

The Best Items to Donate to Food Banks This Holiday Season

November 9, 2020

Tagged As: Personal

In addition to all of the other challenges facing families this year, the holiday season is an especially difficult time for people living with food insecurity: those without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. According to, one in seven children in Iowa struggle with hunger. Food is expensive, and the cost of groceries adds up quickly, especially with many mouths to feed. This holiday season, consider donating items from this list to our local food banks. But be sure to check with your local food bank before gathering items to donate, as many are only accepting financial donations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Financial Donations
Often times, food pantries have relationships with retailers and wholesalers that allow their dollars to stretch further than if they were to purchase goods from a grocery store. Financial donations are an extremely effective way to help those with food insecurity within your community.

Shelf-Stable Items
Food pantries always can take things like canned meats (e.g. tuna and chicken), canned vegetables, canned fruit, 100 % fruit juice, peanut butter, canned beans or dried beans, nuts, hearty soups or stews (both canned and dried), rice, oatmeal, pasta, cooking oil, etc. Canned items are usually preferred to glass items as they are less likely to break.

Baby/Children Items
Food banks almost always benefit from supplies for babies such as formula, baby food, cereals, and diapers. Many food pantries also accept donations of children’s clothing and coats, so underwear, socks, and coats are highly valued, especially during cold winter months.

Personal Hygiene Items
Personal hygiene items like toothpaste, mouthwash, feminine products, laundry detergent, razors, shampoo, and toilet paper are usually in short supply in food pantries. These items can be very costly and useful for those in need. Even for those who qualify for food stamps, personal hygiene products are necessities that are not covered. Just remember to keep the personal care items separate from the food items.

For more information about donating items, time, or money to area food banks please visit: Coralville Community Food Pantry, Johnson County CommUnity, Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP), North Liberty Community Pantry, and The Salvation Army of Cedar Rapids.