How can I pass along unwanted cans and jars of food?

cans-of-foodWe helped a friend of ours move out of his house at the weekend. He’s going away to India for a few months and needed to get out of his rented house before heading off. Because he’d left everything to the last minute, he told us on Friday that he was just going to “bin everything” he wasn’t keeping, prompting my green nerve to twitch violently and me to volunteer our services to take it all to a local charity shop instead. (If I didn’t know better, I would swear he did it on purpose…)

We ended up taking four full carloads of furniture, clothes, books and bits & bobs to the charity shop and wombled another two bulging carloads for ourselves – including a nearly new bike which we gave to our neighbour and a big box of random food items from his kitchen cupboard. We’ll use most of it in time (there were 27 cans of baked beans, 16 cans of tuna and 5 jars of horseradish sauce – it’ll take quite some time!) but it made me realise that while the charity shop we were visiting took nearly everything, they didn’t take food – so what could be done with them if we didn’t want them?

I know that sometimes schools, churches or community groups have canned food drives at certain times of the year – often around this time of the year, as harvest festivals – but what about when they’re not collecting? I suspect shelters would welcome food stuffs but probably more along the lines of those 27 cans of baked beans rather than the single cans of lots of different diverse foods (including, almost other things, a can of reindeer meat) – things that lead themselves to mass catering.

There is so much food wasted at the moment – in-date food that people have bought on a buy one, get one frees but then not liked the first one – that there must be better ways to collect and redistribute it.

Do any charity shops collect it? Are there any organisations that oversee collection and redistribution, leaving collection bins in public places (like some animal shelters have bins for pet food donations supermarkets)? Do you have any other recommendations for how to pass it on?

(The photo is of the 27 cans of baked beans and the single can of reindeer meat. I wasn’t joking.)

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11 Responses to “How can I pass along unwanted cans and jars of food?”

  1. Cipollina says:

    You could send the baked beans to me – they don’t have them where I live! 8]

  2. Agata says:

    Look for freegans websites,thay would take food gladly

  3. Bobbie says:

    I don’t know about the UK, but here in Texas, USA we have several charities we can donate to directly: Salvation Army, Hope’s Closet (battered women). There are food drives at Thanksgiving and Christmas, then there are the Food Pantry ones at other times of the year. You could always donate to someone in need :)

  4. Nicole says:

    What about a soup kitchen?

  5. Kara says:

    Many churches and shelters will take any food that hasn’t expired at any time. Even if it’s not enough to feed a large group, every bit helps! There may also be a local governmental organization that keeps track of places that will take donations of food.

  6. Kacy says:

    If nothing else, feed a pet with the oddball items like reindeer meat. It may not be the best food for your pet, but an occasional serving of a meat item won’t hurt them. Either way, it beats throwing it out.

  7. Shorty says:

    I’d say if there’s stuff like peaches that have that little pop tab, give them to your middle school kids to put in their locker for when they forget their lunch. I’m sure you can find someone who will take them. Not all of them, but offer your friends a can or two. I wonder if there are any food pantries around you? There should be. Ooooh!! You could start one! That would be awesome, all you need is a place to store the food.

  8. Mary Horesh says:

    The is a great organisation called Fairshare, which takes ‘fit for purpose food’ and distributes to disadvantaged people in the community.

  9. Cipollina says:

    What happened to the reindeer meat in the end, then? I’d love me some now when we’re nearing yule – it’s part of the yule food traditions where I’m from, but where I live now it doesn’t exist at all! :(

  10. Anonymous says:

    you could give them to a friend or neighbor in need

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