Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
holding a turkey

7 seasonal items needed at food shelves

Added on Friday, November 13, 2015

Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends and to give thanks for your life’s blessings. It’s also a good time to think about helping people who might not have enough to eat. Giving back is important, and as we move into a season with cooler weather, it becomes even more so.

As Thanksgiving and Christmas usher themselves in, the number of people visiting our food shelves tends to increase. For them, receiving their kitchen staples is the difference between a nourishing family meal or going without. While items such as spaghetti, pasta sauce, canned fruit and cereals are always in high demand, those looking to celebrate the holidays, even with a smaller meal, may find classic holiday comfort items like stuffing, cranberries or biscuits lacking.

This Thanksgiving, we’re hoping to change that. Many of our worship and service centers are offering special holiday food baskets and opening our doors to everyone wishing to attend one of our meal services for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. Together, we can do so much more.

With your help, we can provide our guests with a little extra this holiday season. To make things easy, consider picking up a few of these seven festive items and passing on a heartwarming Thanksgiving to a family in need:

  1. Stuffing. You can find a wide variety of stuffings at your local grocery store, at a minimal cost to your weekly grocery bill. We recommend looking for stuffing that is low in sodium, as we want to provide our guests nutritious ingredients to make their holiday meals nourishing.
  2. Canned cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce contains antioxidants that help strengthen your immune system. During the holidays when temperatures drop, getting those essential nutrients will help our guests through the cold and flu season.
  3. Potatoes. They’re a classic side for holiday meals. Best of all, they’re easy to make and they’re filling. You can either donate a few boxes of instant potatoes or drop off a small bag of fresh ones. A nice characteristic of root vegetables is that they tend to have a slightly longer shelf life, which makes storing these at home easy for our guests.
  4. Herbs and spices. If someone is shopping our food pantries simply for necessities, their meals may end up bland without something to give it flavor. Adding an extra container of pepper or cinnamon to your weekly grocery trip is an easy and cheap way to give back this holiday season.
  5. Muffin or biscuit mix. These mixes tend to be inexpensive and are great fillers for a family meal. Even better, these mixes are extremely versatile, which means you can make other recipes like flour tortillas, waffles or cookies.
  6. Fresh produce. For our visitors, their monthly budgets have very little wiggle room for additional groceries, which often results in a lack of nutrient-rich produce. Even simple items such as onions, carrots and apples can enhance the flavor of simple recipes while adding in essential vitamins and minerals.
  7. Filled turkey cards. Many grocers offer seasonal stamp or punch cards that lead to a free turkey once a certain amount has been spent at their store. If you’ve already received a free turkey and have filled up another card, consider donating it to our food pantry. If you’re wondering why you can’t simply donate the frozen turkey, it’s because some of our food pantry locations do not have a freezer/refrigerator, or they do not have enough space to accommodate a large number of turkeys in addition to milk, eggs and other nonperishables.

Salvation Army locations in the Twin Cities, Greater Minnesota and North Dakota welcome your direct donations. Find your nearest Salvation Army by typing in your ZIP code below.

Monetary donations are also appreciated. You can donate online to support food programs in your local community.