Utahns can spread holiday cheer by donating food, clothing and other needed items this winter | Urban Living
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Utahns can spread holiday cheer by donating food, clothing and other needed items this winter

Urban Living

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It's that time of year when the big holidays are looming ahead, along with the prospect of a very snowy season in Northern Utah.

Many folks start thinking about what they can do to help the economically challenged, unsheltered and rent burdened as the cold approaches. Whether it's donating to your mail carrier's food drive or dropping off gently used clothes at your local Deseret Industries, some try to make a difference, no matter how small a gesture.

It's simple to create a food drive at your office. The Utah Food Bank will accept canned goods, but they also will accept fresh breads and bakery items (not home cooked), fresh produce, commercially packaged eggs, personal care items, household cleaning products and packaging supplies like zip-lock bags, trash bags, etc.

What they don't want are foods in damaged packaging, unlabeled food, any home-cooked foods or home-canned food, foods with freezer burn, foods with alcohol in them, herbal supplements, energy drinks or foods past their sell-by dates.

I also read a great article about one woman's suggestions for donating to your local food bank or pantry that gives a personal twist on what's needed and why. "Everyone donates Mac and Cheese in a box but that needs milk and butter, which might cost too much or needs to be refrigerated. If you're donating a box of canned goods, throw in a can opener? Cooking oil is a luxury item not usually donated, as is salt and pepper. Hamburger Helper is great but without protein it's not great. Peanut Butter and jelly are in demand but donate fresh bread to go with it? Laundry soap and dish detergent are expensive but greatly appreciated, as are feminine hygiene products of all kinds. Diapers are so costly and desperately needed along with formula (dried or liquid in a can). You may not like canned meats in your pantry such as whole cooked chickens, hams, beef but these proteins are terrific in stews, enchiladas, pot pies and such."

There are food banks/pantries in virtually every county in Utah. The best website to find one is: utahfoodbank.org/find-a-pantry. You can also make a monetary donation on the site if you don't want to do a can drive with your neighborhood or office.

Many schools now offer a food pantry of sorts, often with other supplies like gently used clothing, backpacks, pens, paper, etc. And the Utah Food Bank is asking for frozen turkeys and hams. So pack a cooler with ice, drop in your donation to keep chilled and get thee to a local food bank.

You can also volunteer there by helping to stock and organize or load/unload groceries. Kick the can of hunger this season! Helping the needy has never been easier, and remember your good karma will return tenfold.

Getting help is just as easy—check out the website!