It's that time of year where families start preparing for their holiday traditions and lavish feasts.
While Thanksgiving is traditionally a day to give thanks for everything you have in your life, many people across the country who might otherwise not be able to partake are able to celebrate thanks to food banks and donations. In my area, a few weeks before the holiday, the boy scouts go door to door asking for neighbors to donate a few cans to help give someone an awesome Thanksgiving feast.
While most people donate whatever canned goods are cluttering up their pantries, many food banks still fail to receive the essentials necessary for comfort and well-balanced meals. To help ensure people are getting exactly what they need around the holidays, here's a list of the 21 items donation drives really need but hardly ever get.
1. Soup Packets
Like canned veggies, these taste great and last quite a while.
Most food donations can be a bit bland. By donating spices, you can help those in need chow down on flavorful feasts.
3. Whole-Wheat Pasta
All pasta is non-perishable, but whole-wheat pasta has the added bonus of extra fiber. Quinoa pasta is another awesome option!
4. Crackers and Tortillas
These items last a long time unopened, and they allow people in need to snack just like the rest of us.
5. Canned Meats
Some food banks struggle to provide enough protein options, so canned meats like Spam are perfect.
Most people fail to realize that people don't just need food to stay healthy. Good hygiene is critical, and with toiletry donations, you can help people feel comfortable and dignified.
7. Feminine Products
Women experiencing homelessness often can't afford to buy feminine products. They are always appreciated in women's shelters.
While not an essential, who doesn't need a little chocolatey boost every once in a while? We all have the right to indulge.
An excellent non-perishable snacking item that is also a healthy option if it's low in sodium.
10. Shelf-Stable Milk
Serving as a great source of calcium and protein, shelf-stable milk will not spoil in a few weeks like traditional milk will.
11. Granola Bars
Another healthy snacking choice that lasts quite a while! Plus, many of these bars pack a protein punch.
12. Low-Sugar Cereals
Cereals like Cheerios and Fiber One are high in fiber and contain whole grains, making them the perfect breakfast essentials.
13. Canned Chicken or Tuna
These sources of protein can be added to any meal without much hassle. Canned tuna and chicken are also non-perishable.
Socks not only keep those in need warm, but they can also provide comfort when morale is low.
15. Low-Sodium Vegetables
Canned veggies are full of fiber and vitamins. By purchasing items that are low in sodium, you can help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
If meat is not readily available, all types of canned beans can serve as protein alternatives.
17. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is another high-protein item that food drives like to receive. And who doesn't love peanut butter?
18. Juice Boxes
Most families accepting donations have at least one child in their household. By keeping 100 percent juice on hand, they can keep their little ones hydrated and healthy.
19. Olive Oil
As a cooking essential, this is one of the items food banks need most. An added bonus is that olive oil is a healthy fat!
20. Brown Rice
Even a handful of brown rice can go a long way. Not only is the grain filling, but it is easy to store and distribute. Better still is the fact that it's packed with vitamin B and fiber.
Oatmeal is another great breakfast option for those who need to stay full.