Thursday, June 7, 2012

Organize a food a drive and help a local pantry

By DIANE HENTGES, United Way of Wyandotte County

School is out and children are home for the summer. For a number of families this also means that they the check does not last as long as the month.

Children need to eat good nutritious food. The families often times must turn the local food pantry to help feed their families. Shelves in the food pantries can get very low on supplies.

Think about organizing a food drive at work or church or maybe at your book club, or with your bridge group. Donated items need to nutritious and easy to you. What items should you request?

Let’s start with breakfast foods. Nutritious whole grain cereals, stay away from those packaged cereals with added sugar.

Oatmeal is always a good choice. Breakfast bars and peanut butter to spread on toast and canned fruit juices are good items for pantries. Pancake mix that you just add water is a good choice. On a limited budgeted a family may not have eggs in the refrigerator.

Snacks are important in the life of a child. Granola bars, trail mix, crackers, spreadable cheese, pretzels, dried fruit, popcorn, raisins and nuts. You want items that store well and take little or no preparation and that have nutritional value. Stay away from empty calorie foods like potato chips.

Other items welcomed in the pantry are canned soups, pasta and sauces, canned meats like tuna, salmon, and chicken. Packaged rice and noodles are easy to fix.

Every kitchen cupboard needs essentials like flour, sugar, evaporated or powdered milk, vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Canned fruits and vegetables are always needed. Don’t forget the smallest member in the household, the baby.

Donated baby food, baby cereal, and formula are always appreciated and needed.

Now you have some idea what to ask for. Make it fun add a bit of competition and help fill the shelves of a local pantry.

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