When people think about giving to the food shelves it's on the way out of the grocery store or leaving something for the mail person.

The needs are year-round and sometimes it is things that aren't necessarily food. All the food shelves need help and you can contact the one nearest you if you want a list of their needs. Popular items that every food shelf needs is canned goods, ramen noodles, soup, bread, peanut butter, dry boxed goods, or things that can stand a long time on the shelf. There are things that families need and there isn't necessarily a list available when you go to the grocery store.

Chum and other food shelves release a list, here is a list they talk about needing to be filled.

Here is a list of items needed but not at the top of the mind:

  • Sweets/Chocolates.  While they may not be a necessity, these treats are often left off of donation lists and might provide a smile for a younger child in the family of need.
  • Baby Items.  Necessary items like diapers and wipes, formula, even pacifiers, and accessories can be expensive.  Often, families that are utilizing food shelf programs have young or infant children.
  • Toiletries/Over-The-Counter Medicines.  Soap, Deodorant, Toothpaste,.  Antacid, Band-Aids, First-aid items, Aspirin or other pain relievers.
  • Feminine Products.  Much like baby items, feminine products are a necessity that can be expensive.
  • Crackers.  The shelf life on items like crackers can be extended and they make a good item that helps stretch a food budget and meal plan.  Add cheese and/or meat and you have a nutritious meal.
  • Spices.  It's as simple as adding salt and pepper or get some chili powder or something else that can transform simple items or meats into many other meals.
  • Dry Soup Packets.  While it seems like everyone donates cans of soup, dried envelopes of soup can also be put to good use. Ramen and cup a soup can go a long way too.
  • Other Canned Fruits and Vegetables.  Some of the most popular donations are corn, beans, and pineapple. There are other healthy vegetables you could donate like asparagus, squash, plums, and canned pie filling?
  • Socks/Underwear.  Underwear especially for kids, but food shelves need them for everyone. Socks are the most overlooked item. Undershirts are often overlooked because they can also make people with light coats warmer and be used as long underwear.
  • Flour and Sugar. Baking items to make meals or treats can go a long way in stretching the food and giving a variety to the family.