The United States has an abundant food supply, yet many people lack access to healthy and safe food.  Some people in this situation rely on food assistance programs such as
food pantries.  Food pantries can be a vital source of wholesome food for families and individuals.

Donations of food by local farms, food retailers and consumers to food pantries help provide food to hungry people and can reduce food waste.  Although the need is great throughout the year, fall is usually the season when people donate to food pantries through food drives in anticipation of Thanksgiving.

The following guidelines can help you decide what to donate to a food drive or pantry:

  • Consider a cash donation. Cash is useful to food banks and food pantries as they can generally buy quantities of food for less.  They can also buy the items most needed by their clients.
  • It is important that donated food be safe and nutritious as possible rather than just what is in the back of your cupboard.  In other words, don’t just “clean out your pantry”
    and donate food that you don’t want or can’t use anymore unless it meets specific guidelines.
  • Purchase food specifically for the food drive.  Think about what foods other families like yours might like to eat.  Also keep in mind that food pantry and food bank recipients range in age from infants to elderly residents.
  • Donate retail-sized food containers.  In other words, the size of the items you’d pick up at your local grocery store for yourself or family.
  • Donate food that is in its original package with the label intact- unopened and not damaged.
  • Do not donate food that is past its “best buy,” “use by,” or “sell by” date.  Although some food is still safe to consume after these dates, it is best practice not to donate them.
  • If canned food has a sharp dent, a dent deep enough to rest a finger in, severe rust pits, swollen or bulging ends or any evidence of leaking, the food is unsafe and should be discarded and not donated.  Canned vegetables and meats with any size dent should be thrown away.
  • Because of the risk of botulism in improperly home-canned food and the large variation in the level of safety of home methods used by home canners, food banks and food pantries do not accept any home-canned goods.

Whatever you choose to donate, do it with compassion for your neighbors. Remember, you can make a difference in someone’s life by donating food or money to a local food pantry.

This article was written by Ann Hamilton, a food safety specialist with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.  Her email is

To donate money, please make your check out to the Wakefield Food Pantry and mail it to:

Wakefield Food Pantry
P.O. Box 426
Sanbornville, NH  03872

Also, support the Wakefield Food Pantry with every purchase you make with Amazon. Just go to and select the Wakefield Food Pantry.

Thank you for your donation!


Our major/regular fundraising endeavor helps to increase the awareness of the WFP and meet food costs.

  • ARFF Walk (Animals Raising Funds for Food) Held on September 1 this event was planned and executed in partnership with St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Lakes Region Humane Society. Pets and their owners (all dogs this year) walked from Turntable Park to the Poor People’s Pub and back and raised over $3000 in sponsorships. The proceeds were split between the Pantry and the Humane Society.

Fundraising Done by Others

  • Easter Dinner at Cindy’s Restaurant (this annual event will not benefit the WFP every year as Cindy plans to rotate her beneficiaries) this year, it netted $2,500 to the pantry.
  • Amazon Smile provides a quarterly portion of sales from all online shopping where the customer has directed their benefit to the pantry.
  • Turkey Trot at the Province Lake Golf Course each November helps to fund the holiday meals.
  • Episcogolf planned and executed by St. John’s Episcopal Church has regularly provided annual grants to support our children’s programs.
  • The Black Panther football team has an annual collection of cash for the pantry.
  • The Masons and the Lions regularly have a fundraiser for the pantry.
  • Lovell Lake Food Center has a holiday drive to help fund bags of donated food.
  • Hannaford has an annual holiday food drive to help fund “Helping Hands” boxes which come to the pantry for distribution.
  • Churches of the community provide weekly and ongoing support in the form of food donations
  • Boy Scouts food drive brings boxes of food for the pantry.
  • Lake Forest Resort donations from various events netted over $2,000 for the pantry.


  • Canned Tuna
  • Canned Chicken
  • Peanut Butter
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Healthy Cereal
  • Healthy Snack Bars
  • Granola Bars