— peanut butter;
— cans or plastic containers of juice (make sure it's 100 percent juice);
— canned vegetables, any variety, marked lite or low-sodium;
— bags of pinto or black beans;
— canned tuna fish;
— and powdered milk fortified with vitamin D.
Donors should avoid:
— foods high in sodium, fat, oils or sugar;
— chips, candy, cookies and crackers
— sugary beverages;
— items in glass bottles;
— and items that are expired or in damaged packaging.
Some food pantries are equipped to accept frozen foods such as turkey, chicken and vegetables and other perishables like fruit and milk, but donors should call ahead.
The simplest — and most appreciated — donation is cash. Pantry officials can use the money — cash or grocery gift cards — to buy whatever healthy staples are in low supply. Also, because they purchase in bulk, they get more for the money than the average grocery shopper does.
"A $15 donation goes a long way toward getting fresh, healthy stuff," Tussler said. "People say $15 doesn't do much because it only buys one meal but really, it makes a big difference."
Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde(at)ap.org.
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