Have you ever donated items to a food bank or food pantry? If there ever was a time to do it -- the time is now. But what items will be the most appreciated? Anything is always used, but there may be a few things that you've never thought of that will fill a need in someone's family. One of six people in the Evansville go hungry and a third of those are kids, so lets start with their favorites...

Peanut butter and jelly are items that will always feed hungry kids but they're going to need some way to make a sandwich. Store brand sandwich bread is surprisingly inexpensive at Ruler Foods and Walmart and other local stores. Toss in a few loaves so kids can enjoy their PB & J sandwiches.

Boxes of cereal are always in demand and boxed mac & cheese is a solid favorite; but, remember, they both require milk which is very affordable. If you want to go the extra mile, pick up some boxed milk to include with your donation. It stores easy and lasts a long time.

Another kid's favorite is pasta (like spaghetti.)  Don't forget the sauce.

How about donating a box of cake mix and can of instant frosting?  What kids don't enjoy a fresh baked cake that Mother made?

Here are some other items that will brighten someone's day:

Flour and sugar are excellent. They are not expensive and can be stored for a long time.

If you donate canned items, try to get the ones with the pull top opener. Not everyone has a functioning can opener.

Cooking oil is important and always appreciated. Margarine is a good gift also. It's dirt cheap and stores well.

Eggs are around a dollar a dozen (Target has a package of 18 for $1.39 right now) and can be used in so many ways.  Someone will be thankful to get them.

Boxes of tuna and chicken helper are great, but don't forget to include a can of tuna or chicken to make a complete meal.

Who doesn't love Stovetop stuffing? I think the generic store brands taste just as good as the name brand, and it's not much more than a dollar.

Salt and pepper are not expensive and make a great donation. Chili powder is good, too.

If you want to splurge a little with an expensive item, dishwashing detergent is a good gift. Fresh meat is a treasure. Packages or cans of coffee will make someone very happy.

And here's an item that every mom needs:  feminine hygiene products. You can't go wrong with that donation.

And one final item--CASH. The food banks and pantries can always use it to buy items they have in short supply and to buy in bulk.Here are some links to help you get in touch with folks in need in the Tri-State:

Tri-State Food Bank

Saint Vincent de Paul

Evansville Emergency Food Pantry

There are many churches in the Tri-State that help and I'm sure I've missed some links. Please check with your church to see if they have a program.

Happy new year!