By David Frease, Procurement and Sustainability Manager
Now that the summer season is winding down, The Nashville Food Project is officially moving into its “slow” time of the year in terms of food donations. We have been so incredibly lucky this past spring and summer to have amazing produce flooding in on a weekly basis. The local farm community has really rallied behind our cause this year, gifting us with an abundance of incredible items that our kitchens have turned into made-from-scratch meals to send back out into the community.
However, the growing season will soon be coming to an end and that is where we begin to depend on the thoughtful donations made by supporters like you. We oftentimes get approached by people wanting to organize holiday food drives for us and as it’s been a while since we mentioned our greatest needs, we thought it was time to provide an updated list of things our kitchens find most helpful.
Are you interested in holding a food drive for pantry staples? It’s easier than you think! I usually advise people to make them a week or two in length, so you don't have to store a bunch of items in your home/workplace/office over too long a period. Let your coworkers know that you're doing a food drive with the intention of donating to The Nashville Food Project upon completion. People seem to have a lot of success printing out this list of food items, posting it on a wall in their break room or other high traffic area (with your employer’s permission, of course), and arranging to have a large cardboard box for collection underneath it. That way, your coworkers can drop things off as they please! Whenever your drive is over, get in touch to arrange a drop-off or pickup by emailing email@example.com
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Canned Diced Tomatoes
Unseasoned Canned Beans of Any Kind
Dried Fruit of Any Kind (Especially Raisins & Cranberries)
Nuts/Seeds of Any Kind (Especially Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews, Almonds & Pumpkin Seeds)
Healthy Snack/Granola Bars
Fresh Fruit & Vegetables
Looking for other ways to help on a more individual basis? We can always make use of donations of fresh fruits and vegetables on our menus! One of our many favorite donors is Joe Hodgson, or as we call him, “The Apple Guy.” Every few weeks, Joe brings us 8 bushels of beautiful organic apples that we use in our fruit salads or as a healthy snack for our after-school meals partners. Joe has kept it simple and chosen one item to make “his thing” and it is beyond helpful to know we can count on him and his apples to round out our meals. What could you make “your thing?”
Meat is one of our most costly food budget items, and we rarely have it donated. We are always in need of fresh and frozen protein, especially in the fall and winter months. Ground beef, chicken breasts, breakfast sausage, nitrate free sliced turkey… all of these go a long way towards helping us reduce our budget and keep our menus packed with protein.
Hopefully this has given you plenty of food for thought! If you have any other questions or would like to brainstorm some more outside-of-the-box donation ideas, please feel free to reach out to David Frease at firstname.lastname@example.org