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Group of people putting food donations into a box at Olympus Hillwood



With the holidays here, you’re probably thinking a lot about what gifts to give your friends and loved ones. But now is also a great time to think about how you can help those who are less fortunate. There are always people and families in need of a helping hand, and with the rise of COVID-19, more people are struggling than ever before. Fortunately, there’s one easy thing you can do, and that’s donating basic necessities like food and other items. Check out our guide to the ideal items to give your neighbors in need this year.

Canned Fish & Meats

Canned tuna and other fish, such as salmon, and canned turkey or chicken are a great donation. Protein is important, and each can make a great base for a healthy meal. Canned beef is less healthy and should be avoided. Highly processed meats like Spam and Vienna Sausages are very high in sodium and don’t really offer any health benefits. These are better saved for the people you love. Say at your next Super Bowl party or wedding reception.

Nut Butter

Peanut and other nut butters make a great donation item because they have a number of health benefits, including a high level of heart-healthy fats, lots of protein, and plenty of fiber. Choose a low-sodium option, if available.

Shelf-Stable Milk

People need something to wash down all that nut butter! Powdered milk and canned evaporated milk doesn’t require refrigeration and provides much-needed protein, calcium, and other nutrients. And it tastes great on cereal!

Canned Beans

A good source of protein and fiber, beans are always a welcome donation. Dried beans are also good, but canned beans are easier to prepare. If you are giving canned beans, try to limit your green bean donation. Food banks tend to be good on these. But they make great stocking stuffers! Just open up a can and pour it straight in. Kids love ‘em!

Soups & Stews

Choose a variety of soups and stews, both with meat and without. Opt for organic, low-sodium options when available. These make a great meal all on their own and are quick and easy to prepare.

Hygiene Items & Feminine Products

Even the most basic necessities, such as unopened toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and feminine products are in high demand. Just having access to these basic items can have a huge effect on someone’s well-being. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable and complete.

For more items that make great donations, visit Feed America First and Nourish Food Bank - Murfreesboro. For more tips on sharing the holiday spirit with friends and neighbors, visit the Olympus Hillwood blog.