I have been asked many, many times, what is the best food to donate to Loaves & Fishes. The question always reminds me of a time 30 years ago, long before I worked for Loaves & Fishes. My church had a food collection each quarter. I would stand in front of the open pantry and ask my youngest son, who was about 5, “John, what do you want to give Loaves & Fishes this time?”. His answer was always the same “give them the sauerkraut.” He was convinced that if we gave away the sauerkraut in the pantry, I would never purchase another can. To this day I can’t see a can of kraut come into the warehouse without thinking of young John.
One way we encourage people to make this decision is by the season. With summer coming soon we are focusing on “kid friendly” nutritious foods. Cereal, peanut butter and jelly, canned meats like tuna or canned pasta like spaghettios, and the always popular mac and cheese. These foods are easily prepared, non-perishable, and will be welcome on any child’s plate.
Fall and winter donations can follow holidays – all the trimmings for a turkey dinner are always greeted enthusiastically. And for fun, color code your donations – red for Valentine’s Day (yes people do eat beets!), green for St. Patrick’s.
Our priority needs are canned meat, canned pastas, canned fruit, 100% juice and cereal. These are the items that seem to fly off pantry shelves the fastest. Loaves & Fishes clients want to feed their families the same kinds of food we all do – just think of what you would want to serve your family – it’s as easy as that. And by the way, John now loves sauerkraut.