Spinach, Spices, Chapstick and Applesauce
By Rebecca R. Born
Executive Director, GPHC, Inc.
You may have seen one of the many articles floating around social media lately titled some version of “What Your Local Food Pantry Really Needs.” My favorite so far is from a blog called foodlets.com (the piece is titled “What Food Banks Need Most and What They Get Too Much Of).
It’s interesting how spot on this, and other articles, are. Almost all of the articles start with the suggestion that money is what is really needed.
That is probably true most places, but here at Greater Park Hill it’s really just me most of the time, and I need to be in the office. We very rarely buy our pantry supplies – those donations all come from you, our wonderful neighbors.
I’d like to explore some of the items that particularly hit home here in Park Hill, from the foodlets.com article. My comments are in bold.
1. Canned vegetables: Everyone donates green beans. Instead, give potatoes, carrots, spinach, peas or any other veggies your family likes. Our clients love canned spinach and we rarely have more than one can at a time!
2. Snack items for kids to take to school: juice boxes, applesauce containers, granola bars. Did you know we keep a basket of healthy snacks in the lobby here? Kids (and adults) appreciate a little pick me up treat.
3. Diapers in sizes above newborn, plus wipes. You all have stepped up with the diapers, but we rarely have wipes. Consider splitting up a large tub into plastic baggies to donate.
4. Toiletries: toothbrushes, soap, toothpaste, lotion, shampoo & conditioner, Chapstick (consider someone living outside this time of year). Chapstick, lotion, and deodorant are particular needs right now.
5. Feminine hygiene products: unscented pads will be most universally used, not tampons. Diapers, toilet paper and hygiene products are considered emergency items here and anyone can in and get some anytime.
6. Spices like cinnamon, oregano, basil, salt, pepper. Salt, pepper, spices, cooking oil; these basics help the home cook.
7. Bags of apples or potatoes. Yes!
8. Consider donating reusable sturdy shopping bags. Supplies are heavy plus it takes a lot of humility to come to a food bank. Since they’ll likely be walking home or taking public transportation, it’s nice to at least blend in. Most of our clients are on foot. Plastic bags can get painful, we always need bags that are in good shape.
We have the capacity to store fresh and frozen food as well. No one wants to eat only canned food, so keep that in mind.
Lastly I’d add, the first thing you should always ask yourself is, “Would I eat this? Would my kids eat this?” If you would be comfortable putting it on the table at home, we’d love to have it here.
All donations can be dropped off at the GPHC office at 2823 Fairfax St. The office is open Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feel free to call if you have any questions. The number is (303) 388-0918.
Thanks for all your amazing support!