The holidays are here which means it’s time to start gift and grocery shopping, and also start thinking about donations. This is a difficult time of year for many families. With the constant rise in the cost of living, the demand for donations has grown exponentially. A lot of organizations, including Metropolitan Ministries, have already opened their annual holiday food drives for those who are struggling. But often people will donate goods to food banks without thinking of the common items needed to cook that meal. If you plan on donating this year, maybe include one or more of these items in your donations.

Every year, Metropolitan Ministries provides holiday meals to thousands of families in need. This year, they’re seeing record demand for requests for Thanksgiving meals even as donations are down by 30%. WTSP says that includes a 15% increase in the number of seniors on a fixed income and a 70% increase in people looking for help to stay in their homes and avoid getting evicted.

Lots of people in the Tampa area are already willing to help. WWE star Titus O’Neil is donating $50,000, which will supply about 1,000 meals. Metropolitan Ministries will have about half a dozen tents set up at locations throughout Hillsborough and Pasco counties. The food drives will stay open through Christmas Eve. Click here to find out how you can get involved.

Common donations to food banks

Metropolitan Ministries has a list of items needed in their holiday store. One of the most needed items is a frozen turkey. Other highly requested items are canned veggies, peanut butter, cereal, ham, and gravy. While donating these items is great, it may be missing some common items that are needed to prepare the meal.

Here are the items people forget about when donating to food banks

  • Butter & Milk

    One of the most commonly donated items to food banks is box mac & cheese. However, they can rarely use it because they need milk & butter, which is often forgotten/hard to find at food banks. Boxed milk is a great item to donate because it can be used for cereal, which is a highly requested item and often donated.

    spreading margarine butter onto bread

  • Can Opener

    Seems kind of obvious. But families might not be able to enjoy those canned veggies unless you also donate a can opener, or donate pop-tops.

    A tin can being opened with a side can opener.


  • Oil

    Oil is needed to cook many donated items, including boxed meals like Rice-a-Roni. However, oil is not commonly donated to food banks.

    Vegetable oil pouring on vegetable oil background


  • Eggs

    Eggs are a real commodity. Especially if you are donating boxed desserts like brownies. Bonus if you also donate frosting to help make a kids birthday special!

    Closeup macro of pasture raised farm fresh dozen brown eggs store bought from farmer in carton box container with speckled eggshells texture


  • Dishwashing Detergent

    Dishwashing Detergent is often forgotten about when donating. It’s very expensive and is always appreciated.

    Woman hand washing dishes over the sink in the kitchen


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