Donating food to a food bank? Consider cash instead of canned goods

Ray Lodge of Feeding San Diego donating surplus from his citrus farm
November 12, 2021
by Olivia Thoelke

With 44 million people in the U.S. facing hunger, donating your extra or purchased dry and canned goods might seem like the best way to help your neighbors in need. But, the best way to support your local food bank is actually through donating money.

Here are four reasons why donating money over food helps more families in need:   

We can turn a donated dollar into more meals 

Rather than paying retail prices, our network of food banks works with major manufacturers, retailers, and farmers to secure healthy food. This means that when you donate a dollar, you’re able to put more meals on the tables of families than if you donated food you'd purchased at the store.

And food banks use donated funds to help cover the cost of picking up the food from donors and bringing it to their warehouses. With supply chain disruptions and transportation costs rising, cash donations can make a big difference.

Donations build healthier communities 

Canned goods and dry food items like pasta and rice are a vital part of our food banks and pantries—but no one can live healthy lives on non-perishable items alone. Providing communities with meals isn’t just about providing food, but about providing healthy food to all of our communities. We work to keep our network food banks and pantries stocked with more fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins. These perishable items can’t be directly donated through food drives but are vital for healthy lives. 

We use funds to combat food waste 

Over 119 billion pounds of perfectly good food is wasted every year. By working directly with farmers, we help ensure that healthy fruits and vegetables that don’t make it to the grocery store end up on the plates of families in need instead of a landfill. When you support our food rescue program, not only are you making a contribution to families in need but to creating a more sustainable world.

Not all food banks have the capacity for large food donations

Before beginning to collect food donations, you should always contact your local food bank. Collecting and receiving food drive donations may cause unforeseen problems and expenses for the food bank you want to help. Your local food bank can help you understand what types of food they can safely accept and when and what food is needed the most. 

Still, want to donate to your local food bank? Host a virtual food drive.

Your community can still work together to help families facing hunger by starting your own fundraiser for Feeding America. Whether you want to dedicate your birthday to ending hunger or have a creative fundraising idea all your own, your fundraiser will bring people together and help even more people in need.

Start your virtual food drive

Team Feed is here to help make your virtual food drive a success.