Non-perishable staples like pasta, canned food, and personal hygiene products are needed by food banks on an ongoing basis. However, what many hungry people don’t get enough of is fresh fruit and vegetables. If you have fruit trees or a vegetable garden, consider coordinating with your local food pantry to donate these items.
Call before donating any food — especially fresh or prepared food — and make sure you’re adhering to your local donation spot’s donor guidelines. Consider dropping off a check when you drop off the food. Even ten or twenty dollars goes a long way towards paying for the collection and distribution of donated food.
Feeding America – nationwide. Seems like they’re only set up to take large, corporate size donations. This is a great nationwide program that’s run very efficiently. I have sent many cash donations to them over the years. Ample Harvest is also a great resource to find a food pantry near you.
Alaska, Fairbanks: Fairbanks Community Food Bank
California, Alameda County: Alameda County Community Food Bank They have several dropoff points in Oakland, Berkeley and Fremont.
California, Santa Monica: Extra Helpings Westside is actively seeking ‘donations of prepared and perishable food from business owners, delis, restaurants, caterers and other food suppliers.’
Connecticut, several locations: Connecticut Food Bank They list some specific needs, including juice and mac and cheese.
Georgia: numerous donation locations
Indiana, Indianapolis: Second Helpings They specifically request rice, pasta, and all forms of protein.
Maryland, various cities: Maryland Food Bank
Massachusetts, Boston: The Greater Boston Food Bank
Michigan, Ann Arbor: Food Gatherers They’d love some fresh produce from your home garden!
New Mexico, Albuquerque: Road Runner Food Bank
New York, New York: City Harvest Donated food must be from a regulated or licensed food business.
Ohio, Cleveland: Cleveland Foodbank
South Carolina: Various
Washington, Seattle: Various food banks
Every May the National Association of Letter Carriers sponsors a food drive and they’ll pick up your donation when they drop off your mail. What could be more convenient?
Farm/food related in Northern California: Cropmobster lists free items and wanted items that consist of farm animals, specific crop needs, animal feed, etc., if you live in Sonoma, San Francisco, Alameda, or Marin counties. (Think 200 lbs. tomatoes wanted for canning or 100 free chickens offered.) They also list some farm jobs, if you’re in the market.
If you have a lot of unpicked fresh produce, especially a number of fruit trees, there are a number of organizations that specifically address that, as well. If you have a small amount you want to donate, most food pantries accept it.