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What should I donate to a food drive?

Before you donate to your local food drive, learn what foods our hungry neighbors need most!

Food Drive Food Last year alone we received nearly 2 million pounds of non-perishable food from food drives. That’s equivalent to over 1,660,000 meals!

These non-perishable foods are essential to stock the shelves at our Partner Agencies across Middle and West Tennessee, but not all shelf-stable items are created equally.

Food insecure individuals are already at a greater risk for developing long-term health conditions, and foods packed with salt, sugar, and excess fat will only worsen those issues.

Before you donate to your next food drive, use this list to help you decide what foods are best to give. Foods listed in bold are our most needed items.


Look for grains that are whole grain or 100% whole wheat. Ideally these items will list whole grains or whole wheat as the first ingredient on the ingredient list.

Whole grain pasta
Whole grain/high fiber cereal
– Brown rice
– Quinoa
– Oatmeal

Fruits and Vegetables

Opt for fruit canned in its own juice/no sugar added and vegetables with low sodium/no salt added.

– Canned fruits/vegetables
– Fruit cups
– 100% fruit juice
– 100% vegetable juice


Aim for low sodium/no salt added options.

– Canned chicken or fish
Peanut butter
– Canned beans
– Canned chili or stew

Feeling inspired to help fight hunger by hosting your own food drive? Get started here! 


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