Do you want to donate for maximum effectiveness for those in need? Here is what I have learned in working with Food Shelters.
- Donate money instead of food. Food is always helpful, but the problem is that the needs of the clients don’t always match up with what is donated. The fact is that every area is different. You can’t match the needs of any charity better than by giving money.
- Donate things that don’t expire quickly. Too often baked goods, expired food, or fruits/vegetables go bad too quickly before they can be used. When food shelters get these foods they try to use them immediately, but it doesn’t always work. So many times baked goods for example have to be thrown out because they go stale so quickly.
- If you have time, call the charity and ask what they need. Remember what I said about matching the needs of the charity? There are always items that charities rarely receive. Examples of this are cooking oil, baby food, seasonings even simple ones like salt & pepper.
- Donate all year. The clients need to eat every day, yet most of the donations come during the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. The shelves get very bare outside of those peak donation times, and it makes it very difficult for people to have meals every day.
- If you can’t afford to donate, then please donate your time. Too many times the money isn’t there to pay for staff for those in need. They depend on volunteers and volunteers are fickle. It is really sad when so many things that need to be done aren’t done, and people suffer for it. For example, many times I have seen that the meals and or needs that aren’t met mean that people go hungry and get sick. Yes, life is difficult for everyone, but we all can help those who are least able to help themselves.