Donate to your local food bank if you’re looking for a great way to feed people in need. Don’t forget to avoid donating food past its “use by” or “sell by” date. There are plenty of ways to make your donations go further. Here are a few tips:
Canola and olive oil are the best options for food banks.
Donating cooking oils to food banks can make a significant impact. The best choices for food banks are canola or olive oil. These are the highest sources of monounsaturated fats and have a mild flavor. Donate them instead of processed and refined oil, such as butter. They can be safely stored in food banks without affecting the shelf life of the food they are preparing.
Olive oil is more expensive than canola but has many health benefits. It’s also considered more heart-healthy, thanks to its high vitamin E content and smoke point. However, it’s still high in calories. Canola is the healthier choice for cooking and drizzling, but olive oil is better for frying.
When cooking with olive or canola oil, buy the higher quality variety. It contains more antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, which promote cardiovascular and digestive health. It also protects the skin. Olive oil has higher omega-3 fatty acids than canola oil, so it’s a good option for many recipes.
Olive and canola oil are the best options for local food banks. Both are heart-healthy and made from rapeseed. While olive oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, canola is high in omega-6 fatty acids.
Avoid donating food past its “use-by” or “sell-by” date.
If you’re planning to donate food to a food bank, keep in mind the expiration date. Most food banks don’t accept food past its “use-by” or “sell-by” date. This is because these items are not individually sealed, and the food banks must be sure about their ingredients and preparation methods.
Although donating food past its “use-by” or sell-by date may be tempting, some people will refuse to take it. For instance, some people won’t touch a canned food past its “sell-by” date, while others are pleased to eat something three years old. While the ethics of donating food past its “use-by”) the date remains a subject of debate; it’s worth considering that the people receiving donated food have fewer choices than grocery store shoppers.
A better understanding of expiration dates is vital for reducing food waste. Research shows that forty percent of the food supply goes unused. The EPA considers feeding hungry people the most valuable use of this excess food. Many individuals don’t realize that food that has passed its “use-by” or “sell-by” date is still safe and nutritious. Understanding food dates will help consumers make better choices when buying and donating food.
In addition to knowing your food’s “use-by” or “sell-by” date, it’s also essential to keep in mind the condition of the food you donate. Food that is visibly spoiled or rotten is best not to present.
The federal government should create better guidelines for food donations and ensure they are of the highest quality possible. If that happens, less food will go to landfills, and more will go to food banks and needy households. In the meantime, you can take advantage of the government’s new laws to donate expired food.
Food labels can be confusing. Some are dated to indicate the freshness of the food, while others are for safety reasons. Foods marked as “best-by” or “use-by” date are still safe to eat, although their appearance, flavor, and texture may be compromised. They may even smell bad! Fortunately, food banks often have plenty of non-perishable goods for donations.
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently issued a report calling for the government to implement standardized date labels for food products. Currently, at least 20 states prohibit donating food after its “use-by” or “sell-by” date. The reason for this is a fear of liability. If the government enforces a more precise date label, it will protect food donations from liability concerns.
Keeping track of the “use-by” or “sell-by” date is essential to avoid food waste. Even though it may seem impossible to keep a food supply at optimal quality, it is not always safe. Depending on what the food is, the shelf-life can vary greatly. While the FDA has not endorsed a standardized term for perishables, local regulations may require a “use-by” or “sell-by” date for milk.
Help feed people in need by donating to a local food bank.
Donating to a food bank is a great way to help a local community. Traditionally, people contribute more to food banks around the holiday season, but the need is constant throughout the year. Communications director Colleen Barton Sutton says the market is especially urgent during pandemics when neighbors are most likely struggling to buy food.
Many food banks rely on volunteers and donations to continue providing essential services. If you are interested in volunteering at a food bank, contact the food bank in your area and ask how you can help. Small donations of canned goods and shelf-stable foods can go a long way and help keep the shelves stocked.
Donating non-food items to a food bank is also an excellent way to help low-income individuals stretch their limited resources. For example, donating back-to-school supplies to a food bank can help a parent save money for other necessities. Non-food items are always in high demand at food pantries.
Food banks are community-based, professional organizations that collect food and other edible products from businesses and individuals to distribute them to needy people. In addition to helping hungry people, food banks also benefit the food industry, charities, and donors, who can claim their donations as a tax deduction.