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Bulletin #4304, A Food Pantry Wish List

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woman shopping for groceriesFood for ME: Citizen Action for Community Food Recovery

A Food Pantry Wish List

Originally prepared by C. Joyce Kleffner, Extension educator. Revised and updated by Kate Yerxa, Extension educator.

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Take this chart with you when you go grocery shopping to help you choose healthy foods to donate to the food pantries, or use it to help you organize a community food drive.

Check with your county University of Maine Cooperative Extension office for a listing of pantries or food assistance programs in your area and accompanying donation information, or visit the County Search for Food Assistance Programs on the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources website.

If you want to donate fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables or other perishable food items, please call the food pantry first to be sure they can accept them. Keep these items refrigerated or frozen to keep them safe.

Food Items to Donate

Protein Foods: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, and Nuts Grains: Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta
canned tuna
canned chicken
canned beef stews
canned salmon
bean soups
canned or dried beans
baked beans
canned chili
peanut butter
canned nuts
rice and rice mixes
canned pastas
noodle mixes
dry noodles and pastas
macaroni and cheese mix
cold cereals
bran cereal
shredded wheat
infant cereal
hot cereal mixes
bread, muffin, and pancake mixes
whole-grain crackers
granola bars
graham crackers
Dairy: Milk, Yogurt and Cheese Vegetables Fruits Oils and Condiments
infant formula
nonfat dry milk
evaporated milk
instant breakfast drinks
shelf-stable (UHT) milk (small boxes)
canned and boxed pudding
canned vegetables
vegetable soup
canned tomato products
spaghetti sauce
baby-food vegetables
V-8 juice
canned fruit
dried fruits
baby-food fruit
fruit leather (100% fruit)
canned and boxed 100% juice
vegetable oil
salad dressing
jelly and jam

Non-Food Items to Donate

Certain non-food items may also be welcome. Call your local food pantry to see what they need.

Paper Products Soap Products Personal Care Products Extras
toilet paper
paper towels
hand soap
laundry and dish detergent
cleaning products
shaving cream
feminine hygiene products

How you can help recover food

To get involved in community food recovery, use the ideas in the Food for ME fact sheets, call the National Hunger Hotline at 800.453.2648 (800.GLEAN.IT) or 866.348.6479 (866.3.HUNGRY), or visit

Food Recovery Resources

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.
© 1998, 2011

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