Keep the cranberry sauce: Here’s what the food bank really needs this Christmas

The holidays are always one of the busiest times of the year for the Central Texas Food Bank, which means it’s a good time to remind good-hearted Central Texas about which kinds of donations are the most helpful for people who are struggling to buy enough food.

A can of cranberry sauce might be the perfect fit for your Thanksgiving table, but it’s not as helpful to Central Texans in need as a can of tuna, chicken breast or soup. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

Central Texas Food Bank Dietitian Mary Agnew, who writes our monthly Ask a Dietitian column, shared some tips in her article this month:

At the food bank, we are receiving your donations by the truck full this time of year, so it’s a good time to share what items are most helpful for our clients. Canned cranberry sauce doesn’t have the same nutritional impact on a family as a can of tuna or chicken breast, a can of low-sodium vegetable soup, a jar of peanut butter or a bag of brown rice or pinto beans, which are all items requested most from our clients.

RELATED: Ask a Dietitian: What would happen if Santa ate all the cookies, milk?

Peanut butter is one of the most requested donations at any food bank. Bob Andres / Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Peanut butter, rice, beans, canned protein and soup. Those are the items that not only pack a nutritional punch but are also more appealing than cans of pumpkin puree or evaporated milk leftover from Thanksgiving.

There are donation drop-off locations in many grocery stores, but you can also drop them off at the Central Texas Food Bank between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For nonperishable food donations, an after-hours drop box is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just outside the front entrance. They are also always looking for volunteers and sustained donations throughout the year. You can find out more by going to centraltexasfoodbank.org.


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