Imagine all of your favorite holiday foods: turkey, macaroni, greens, mashed potatoes, and sweet potato pie. Now imagine wanting all of these and having an empty table instead. For many families this is the truth during the holidays.
Currently, there are 3.1 million Floridians facing hunger and over 900,000 children in Florida don’t have consistent access to enough nutritious food. What does this mean? Some families’ grocery budgets get cut, leading them to skip over the more expensive and healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy. Some parents make the choice of either eating or paying for daycare so they can go to work, or not picking up a prescription because they simply can’t afford both.
This holiday season, Feeding Florida and it’s 12 food banks are working to ensure families get the chance to have their special holiday meals. This season, you can help too.
What to donate this holiday season?
When deciding what to give, think of all the things you love to eat during the holidays, like black eyed peas, gravy, stuffing, and many of your other holiday favorites. This means you could give canned pie filling, rice and beans, boxed stuffing, and canned cranberry sauce. When donating food, try to find items that aren’t high in fats and sugars and look for brands that offer low sodium, whole grain, and gluten-free options. Feeding Florida and our 12 network members are committed to solving hunger while also providing people with healthy food options. To find out what your local food bank is asking for this season, check our list below of top 10 holiday needed items.
What NOT to donate?
Fifty-one percent of food bank assisted households eat food past the expiration date. Don’t add to this. Donating is a great way to show your support in ending hunger, but there are certain things you should not donate. The food provided to our food bank recipients needs to maintain high safety standards. Refrain from donating leftovers from your holiday meals, highly perishable foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, and food nearing its expiration date.
What other ways can you give?
If donating food isn’t the route you want to take this season, try donating to Feeding Florida’s general fund or find your local food bank and donate directly. You can also start a fundraiser, volunteer, or host a virtual food drive with your local food bank. To find more information on how to host a virtual food drive, visit your local food bank’s website.
Tips for giving
Monetary donations are recommended because they can be used immediately to purchase specifically what food banks need. Your dollars will go a long way thanks to our partnerships with farmers, retailers, and food vendors. From your $10 donation, the food banks can create 10 meals. Another tip is to donate at least a week or two early, so our food banks have enough turnaround time to purchase and distribute the food needed. You can donate now so that your donations can be used for this Christmas.
The holidays are a special time for family and friends to laugh, create memories, and enjoy a warm holiday meal, join us in helping each family get to experience the joy of the holidays.
Top Ten Items to Donate
- Frozen turkey or ham
- Canned cranberry sauce
- Canned yams
- Canned pie filling
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Canned soup
- Dry Macaroni
- Boxed stuffing
- Instant potatoes
- Pop top food items