Think Twice Before Donating Canned Goods To A Holiday Food Drive

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You have to love our country. Americans can get behind any idea or a fundraiser and do things that no one ever imagined possible. Even kids in school can get a food drive going. They start asking their friends and neighbors for canned foods for their holiday food drive to help the homeless, soup kitchens and the less fortunate. Have you ever donated to a food drive or other type of food donation program? Doesn’t it feel great? It’s always great to watch kids learn to give and donate and give to those who need it a helping hand.

But did you know that canned food drives are really one of the most inefficient ways to help out the needy? It’s true. Most people go through their pantries and donate extra or unwanted items. This means that more than half of the food donated has already expired. Those who are working the food drive must sort through those cans and this is a huge waste of manpower. Also, all those thousands of cans of food must first be shipped to a warehouse so that they can be sorted out to begin with. This costs money and is anything but environmentally friendly.

Let’s also consider that most canned foods aren’t really healthy fare anyway. They are usually loaded with sugar, salt, preservatives, artificial ingredients and BGT and/or BHA. Also, let’s be honest. We know that beggars can’t be choosers, but most people would much rather have fresh food than canned foods anyway. Certainly, most people think that any food is better than starving and there is no denying that, but there is no reason that “canned food drives” can’t be changed into something better, healthier and certainly something more efficient.

If you really want to see your food dollars go farther for charity, then donate cash. Yep. We hate to say it but it’s true: plain old greenbacks are the best way to support your local food bank or soup kitchen during the holidays or any time of year. Food banks work with local farmers and supermarkets to get fresh, healthy produce and other foods at a significant discount. Did you know that many of the foods that farmers grow never see supermarket shelves because the food does not meet food industry “standards.” This doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with the food. For example, apples need to be at least 2.5 inches in diameter, otherwise they get sold for things like applesauce. Food banks can buy this “ugly” produce cheaply and give people healthier food choices than canned goods They can also buy foods from supermarkets or warehouses at bulk and discounted prices.


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Donating your hard earned cash really is the best way to help local food banks. Buy one less toy for your child or for yourself and donate that cash instead. Beats the heck out of any canned food drive and helps the environment at the same time.