Guest Blog by Val Traore with Food Bank of South Jersey

I love planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas. At home, I give thought to every detail of the menu, the guest list, and even the décor. Here at the Food Bank of South Jersey, there is also a special feeling of excitement at this time of year, which we call Harvest Season. It’s always a busy place – trucks arriving to deliver necessary food to our facility, and our dedicated program partners of food pantries and meal kitchens  who access this food for the almost 200,000 people in need in South Jersey.

But during Holiday Season, there is a unique enthusiasm and a keen sense of urgency to fulfill our mission to provide an immediate solution to the urgent problem of hunger. When you visit our location in Pennsauken (and we hope you will!), our core values are boldly displayed on our walls:  Urgency, Service, Respect, Integrity, Collaboration, Diversity, Stewardship and Accountability. You can’t miss them! Our employees see them every day, and we carry them out on a daily basis, particularly at this time of year.

This is what you will sense in the air in our building – the urgency we feel to make the holiday brighter for hundreds of families by distributing turkeys and fixings for their holiday meal, and the joy of service that radiates from the staff and volunteers who are busy sorting donations from our food drives. There’s never a dull moment!

If you want to help with a food drive, please see the list of most needed items and you can also visit our website, for a full list of items as well as instructions on how to conduct a food drive. You can also find there a number of other ways you can help us in our effort to make sure that no one goes to bed hungry in South Jersey especially our children and seniors – not only during Holiday Season, but throughout the year.

Most Needed Items:

High Protein Items Breads & Cereals:

  • Peanut butter Breakfast cereals (whole grain)
  • Canned tuna or salmon Oatmeal
  • Canned chicken or ham Rice
  • Beans – canned or dry pasta (whole grain)
  • Peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds Pancake mix

Fruits & Vegetables Holiday Items:

  • Vegetables (canned) Stuffing mix
  • Fruit (canned) Cranberry sauce
  • Fruit cups Instant mashed potatoes
  • Applesauce Gravy
  • Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, prunes) Canned pie fillings

Mixed Items:

  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Canned soups
  • Canned stews, chili
  • Ravioli, Spaghettios, etc.
  • Granola Bars

We CANNOT accept previously-opened containers, repackaged and homemade items, outdated products, or perishables—i.e. breads, pies, cakes, produce, meat (fresh or frozen), or baby items. When choosing foods to donate, kindly consider the nutrient value so that our South Jersey children, adults and seniors are receiving healthy and nutritious meals year round.

Download a pdf file of the list to print here. 

Visit Food Bank of South Jersey’s website for more information.