What Kind of Food Can You Donate to Foster Kids in Need?

food drive for foster care
Volunteers sort donated canned food during a community outreach event.

If you want to make a difference, an easy way is to donate food to foster kids in need. This not only ensures that the children are eating well, but helps to take the financial burden off the families who provide support for them. When you’re cleaning out your pantry or taking a special shopping trip, the question of what kind of food you can donate undoubtedly comes up. Here we provide a brief guide on what’s appropriate to donate.

Basic Guidelines for Donation

Generally speaking, the food you donate should be non-perishables. This means that the items will remain good without refrigeration and is well within date. These types of food are usually canned, boxed, or jarred – although there may be some exceptions. The only time that frozen food can be donated is when you are directly dropping it off at the correct place and have already received confirmation that doing so is okay.

Donations should always be unopened and still in their original containers. They should be within date range, and not expired. Any food which may go bad quickly, or which might already be bad, should never be donated.


There is plenty of great food you can donate that fall into the “non-perishable” category. A few of these include:

  • Peanut butter or alternatives (like almond or hazelnut spreads)
  • Jelly, jam, or store-bought preserves
  • Granola bars
  • Cereals
  • Canned fruits and vegetables
  • Canned meats (like tuna or chicken)
  • Boxed mashed potato flakes
  • Brown, white, or yellow rice
  • Quick meals like Rice-A-Roni or Hamburger Helper
  • Ramon Noodles or similar
  • Uncooked noodles of any kind
  • Fruit snacks
  • Mixed nuts or granola
  • Dried fruit
  • Unopened potato chips, pretzels, goldfish, and other similar snacks


For more information or to donate to foster families in your local area, contact us today.