To cut down on the waste, the Golden Harvest Food Bank is reminding people of the best items to contribute for its annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive on Saturday.
Workers at Faith Food Factory at Golden Harvest will spend several weeks sorting donations by categories and removing items that can’t be distributed to food pantries and individuals, said Larry Jenkins, the manager of Faith Food Factory.
The food drive accepts all non-perishable food items, but some things cannot be used once they arrive at the food pantry.
Severely dented cans, torn boxes without inner packaging or items missing labels and ingredient lists are usually removed during sorting.
Jenkins and volunteers will sort through more than 100,000 pounds of food collected during the food drive sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers and the Campbell Soup Co.
On Saturday, people are asked to place a sturdy bag containing nonperishable foods at their mailbox before the time of regular mail delivery. Letter carriers collect the donations as they deliver the mail and take them to the food bank.
All safety seals must be intact and lids must remain even if there is an inner seal. Often, pasta boxes are torn or smashed by canned goods.
The food bank can distribute some items past their printed expiration date following federal regulations, Jenkins said.
If items expired within a year, contributors should donate them and let the food sorters make the final determination.
Canned tuna, chicken and fruits are the most needed items. No glass containers are accepted and items cannot be partially used.
Golden Harvest Food Bank does not accept any alcohol or tobacco products, including nicotine gum.
The Stamp Out Hunger food drive is the largest one-day collection of the year for Golden Harvest, said event coordinator Carrie Jones.
Last year, 117,000 pounds of food were donated.
The food drive is especially important for boosting supplies for the summer months when more people visit food pantries and children on school vacation need meals, Jones said.
“Having this right before summertime is going to help us keep the food going out to the people who really need it,” she said.