What Charitable Donations are Accepted at Food Pantries

October 26, 2022

Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada assists in lending its community a helping hand to provide food and nutrition to individuals and families in need. We accept a variety of donations for our food pantry, but it can seem a bit daunting to know what foods are accepted at food pantries. It isn’t common knowledge to know what items to donate since it’s not listed what foods or supplies all food pantries are always short on, but this guide will help you understand what items are most commonly needed. 

Best Non-Perishable Items to Donate

Donating non-perishable canned items is the most common to donate at a food pantry, but a thing most people do not think about are what specific non-perishable items are sought after for food pantries. Nutrition is a big thing that can get neglected when donating to food pantries, so be mindful of the nutritional value on the back of the items. Some of the best canned and packaged items with as few additives are canned fruits and vegetables, canned soup, plastic jar foods, and canned protein. The need for other things such as tea, cereal, spices, or coffee is also very great since these are not things that are commonly donated.  Canned proteins are one of the best things to donate since typical proteins such as meat or fish go bad fairly quickly. Plus, protein is important to maintaining one’s nutritional health and isn’t always readily available. 

Be mindful that some food pantries do not accept perishable items that come in glass containers due to safety reasons. Additionally, some containers may not be accessible to open for people with certain disabilities, so be mindful of the containers or cans your non-perishable items may be in. Research or call your local shelter to gather details of what items are needed and what is not accepted at all to avoid any confusion.

Why are non-perishable items the best for donation? 

Since these items have a long shelf life without the need for refrigeration, it helps people less fortunate have the ability to store and use these items whenever needed. That is why taking the time to be mindful of nutrition is essential since everyone deserves a chance to stay healthy no matter their circumstance.

Donating Fresh Produce

Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada accepts fresh produce donations, however, check with the food pantry you’re donating to see if they accept fresh produce. Because fresh produce tends to go bad quickly, some food pantries won't accept donations of fresh produce. Although, more fresh food initiatives are being made in food pantries across the nation in order for people in need to get proper and nutritious meals. 

When donating fresh produce, make sure it is free of any mold, spoilage, bruising, or insects. If you are donating produce from your own farm or garden, be sure to properly clean the produce after harvesting and before donating. By donating fresh produce like tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, or any other fruit or vegetable, you are putting a healthy and nutritional meal onto the table of individuals or families who need it. 

Donating Baked Goods

If you have any baked goods to donate, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada happily accepts baked goods as donations. Some food pantries only accept baked goods as donations if you are with a local restaurant or bakery. Make sure the baked goods you wish to donate are properly labeled and in good condition.

Be mindful if your local shelter does not accept baked goods, if you still wish to put your baking skills to use, consider making a baked goods sale and using the money to make a monetary donation to your local shelter instead.

Donating Sanitary Products

Sanitary products such as toilet paper, toothpaste, or sanitary pads are gratefully accepted at a majority of food pantries that are in need of these hygiene products. Typically hygiene products aren’t the first thing people think of when donating to a food pantry, but these items are proudly accepted and needed for comfort kits at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada.

We are also in need of items for our Emergency Night Shelter for Men. Things such as clothing items, new socks for men, new or gently used men’s belts and shoes, and new or gently used men’s clothing. Be sure to reach out to where you may be donating to see what items are needed for that particular pantry or shelter.

Can’t Donate? Consider Volunteering

If you still want to help out your local community but can’t donate, consider volunteering to lend a helping hand. Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada allows for those ages 14+ to volunteer and we have a variety of areas to volunteer for. If you want to volunteer specifically for the food pantry we have assignments such as weighing food items, transporting groceries from a client’s cart to their vehicle, filling USDA bags or boxes, cleaning carts, or stocking shelves. We also offer remote volunteer services such as assembling wellness kits from the comfort of your own home. The food pantry in your local community is always in need of help and is always thankful for any assistance you can provide.

Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada has an AmazonSmile Charity List so you can purchase items to be directly shipped to us and see what items we are in need of. This is for your convenience if you cannot donate in person or volunteer. Any form of donation or volunteer service is greatly appreciated. 

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance and needs to visit our food pantries, our pantry's hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 8 am to 3:30 pm. Please check out more on our website to learn about our food pantry and how you can lend a helping hand.

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