The people of West Michigan are extremely generous, and folks are always looking to donate to local charities in any way that they can.

One easy way to give back is to donate to local food banks, but don't just bring those cans of corn and beans that have been hanging out in your pantry for an unknown amount of time - bring some things to the food bank that they need, but you wouldn't necessarily think of.

A lot of things that they can use, surprisingly, aren't food, which is probably why you wouldn't think to donate them. But, the people visiting the food banks often aren't just in need of groceries.

Things Food Pantries Need That You Probably Wouldn't Think Of


The thing about soup packets is that all you need to make an entire meal with them is water. While canned veggies, beans, and rice are awesome - they are not themselves a meal. Soup packets make it easy for someone to have a quality meal without having to get too inventive.


Speaking of being inventive, you often have to be when the food that you are relying upon is coming from a food bank. While you're thankful for what you're getting, the food can be bland, so things as simple as salt, pepper, garlic salt, and pepper flakes can go a long way toward making those foods taste awesome.


There are many women who have to worry about being able to afford these things that many of us take for granted.


While you personally may turn up your nose at just the phrase "canned meats", people who use food pantries would love to get them in with the rest of their goods. So, canned tuna, chicken, salmon, beef jerky, or whatever type of meat possible is greatly appreciated.


A former homeless person commented in the Reddit thread where we found all of these suggestions saying that socks "mean the world to you" when you're homeless or needy, and they provide warmth and comfort.


While it definitely isn't a necessity, it's nice for folks to get a little something special in with all of the things that they need.


Pineapple is good, but for some reason, food banks get a lot of pineapple sent their way. It's nice to be able to have some sort of variety, so any canned fruit is appreciated.


Toilet paper, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, diapers, baby wipes... these are all things that people in need could use, but many don't think to donate to food pantries.


Formula is expensive, but some babies need it (their mother can't breastfeed, etc.) A lot of times you can get coupons for such things, so if you come across one, pick up some formula the next time you're at the store and donate that with the rest of your stuff.


While this seems like it might be a cop-out, food pantries do need money. They have bills that need to be paid while they're trying to help out those in need. Monetary donations can also help them fill gaps in what they're able to offer to people who need their services.

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