Monday, May 23, 2011

Donating 101

Some not-so-great news from the Hockanum Valley Community Council Tri-Town Food Pantry. The local Stamp Out Hunger food drive last Saturday May 14th yielded approximately 4,000 fewer pounds of food than last year. The pantry serves a lot of families with kids who, once they are out of school for the summer, can no longer receive free breakfasts and lunches. With such a shortfall, there is a very real possibility that the pantry will run out of food before the end of the summer, leaving these kids in serious trouble.

As I continue to urge everyone to donate as much as they can, I did want to remind everyone of a few things that you should NOT be donating:
  • Food past its expiration date*. Yes, even "non-perishables" have an expiration date, and the food pantry has to throw those items out when it gets them! Dave Engelson, the director of HVCC, told me he got some items that had expired in 1994. 1994! That means they would be older, in many cases, than the kids who would be expected to eat them. Gross. If it's not good enough for you to eat, please don't assume that someone else will want it.
    Tip: If you have a stash, like I do, be sure to rotate your items so that you use the oldest items first. If you keep putting new items in front of the older ones, there is a much greater chance that you won't notice when something goes out of date.
  • Food that has been opened*. This seems like a no-brainer, yes? But Dave tells me they got loose bags of tea, half-eaten boxes of cereal, etc. Again, they cannot use these. Look, if you open a box of cereal and you decide you don't like it, you either suck it up, or I don't know, leave it out for the birds or something. But don't dump it on the food pantry for them to throw out for you, 'K?
  • Other items they might not be able to accept, like OTC medications, perishable items, etc. When in doubt, call ahead and check. Some places can take things like aspirin and cold medicine, some can't. Some have fridges and freezers, others don't. If you drop off a bunch of stuff they can't use, chances are it might end up being discarded, especially if it's perishable stuff they have no way to keep cold.
The good news is that I am meeting with Dave at HVCC on Friday. I'm hoping that I can harness the power of the Internets to help them out! Stay tuned, because I might be making some more food drive announcements for anyone in the Manchester/South Windsor/Vernon area.

*Not that I think any of my readers would be guilty of these! For one thing, you can obviously read and are clearly fairly intelligent if you're here. :-)

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