The Food Bank of WNY collects around 13 million pounds of food annually, thanks to the generous people of Niagara, Erie, Chautauqua, and Cattaraugus counties. But that’s not enough. There are certain items the Food Bank simply needs more of. According to the Food Bank website, each month 100,000 Western New Yorkers require emergency food assistance; and certain food items are more useful than others. This week we talked to LouAnne Brown, Marketing Director at the Food Bank of Western New York about what they really need right now.
Turkeys may be one of the more expensive items on this list, but they are an item that not only provides a lot of nourishment, but also provides a sense of holiday inclusiveness. “We just did a big push for Turkeys, but we obviously need some for Christmas still,” says LouAnne Brown, Marketing Director at the Food Bank of Western New York. Frozen turkeys are currently on sale for $1.19 a pound at Wegmans.
2. Whole Grain Cereal
Cereal is a staple that the food bank can always use, not just during the holiday season. Cereals containing whole grains are the most nutritious. Avoid cereals that are high in sugar or that are made mostly with refined grains. High fructose corn syrup is also an ingredient to stay away from. Your best bets are Whole Grain Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, Fiber One Bran Cereal, or Oatmeal.
3. Laundry Detergent
Some might not realize that the Food Bank also accepts items like laundry detergent and dish soap, of which the Food Bank doesn’t always receive enough. These useful items are also essential during the holidays.
4. Canned Tuna or Canned Chicken
Canned tuna has an approximate shelf life of three years. It’s cheap, easy to prepare, and full of protein. It’s also good in case of emergency. Says Brown: “We try to collect nutritional food, so the canned tuna and canned chicken meets that need.”
5. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is in high demand at the food bank. Not only is it cheap and high in protein, but it’s a vegan and gluten free food too. You can find a family pack (two 40oz jars)of Wegmans brand Peanut Butter for $6.99.
6. Canned Vegetables
You already know this, but canned vegetables contain a ton of fiber and nutrients, and they have a lengthy shelf-life. If you’re donating to the Food Bank, consider low-sodium canned vegetables like most Del Monte brand foods. Folks can also reduce sodium by rinsing canned vegetables before cooking or eating.