February is National Canned Food Month; and The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties needs donations of canned food year-round to meet the needs of many hungry children and adults in the area.
The Foodbank offers several creative ideas for food collection, such as wedding gift wishes and corporate matches from employers.
Shannon Traeger is a spokesperson with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity. She says this year, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are “more than 50 million Americans, including nearly 17 million children, that are food insecure, meaning they live at risk of hunger.”
And the face of hunger is changing. “Just because a person has a job, does not mean he or she has enough money to put a meal on the table," she said. "In fact, 36 percent of client households served by the Feeding America network have one or more adults working.”
In Microsoft’s hometown of Redmond, WA, the nonprofit Hopelink is providing solutions to hunger, often utilizing canned food donations. Debra Grant, director of client services, manages Hopelink’s five food banks, which serve almost 7,000 people a month.
“The biggest need is for protein items such as tuna and canned meats," she said. "Also canned meals such as chili and spaghetti are always welcome. Other needs are canned fruits and vegetables and canned tomato products. Tuna and peanut butter are also always in demand.”
Keep in mind when donating canned food that “unfortunately we can't use unlabeled cans or home-canned products or cans with large dents. Very large cans from the warehouse stores can be difficult to use in our food banks, as we aren't able to open the cans and divide them between families,” explains Grant.
To help people in need nearby, consider donating canned goods:
3300 Route 66,
Neptune, NJ 07753
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.