Food Distribution & Donation: Monday 5:30 PM-7:30 PM, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday 9:30 AM-12:00 PM
Food Distribution:
Monday 5:30 PM-7:30 PM, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday 9:30 AM-12:00 PM
Dunedin Cares logo
Dunedin Cares logo

Food Drive Tips

Boxes of food at the Dunedin Cares Food Pantry

Boost the Value of Your Food Drive Donations

Community groups and social organizations often host food drives to fill local food pantry shelves this time of year. By keeping a few simple tips in mind, you can enhance the value of the food donations you make.
It’s important to remember that donated food is most helpful if it is both safe and high quality.
Please Note:
We cannot accept any used or opened food items. All packages must be within expiration and factory-sealed. Please no clothing or household goods.

Ready to Donate?

Here Are Some Things to Remember

Quality or Pack Dates
Expiration Dates
Pull Dates
Package Integrity
Home-Canned/Grown Food
A sticker that reads "Best Before" with a date indicating an expiration date

Quality or Pack Dates

Designated on packages by the words “Better if used by...” and a date. Look for these dates on packaged mixes, cold cereals, peanut butter, and increasingly, on canned items like fruits and vegetables. These dates mean that after the quality date, the food will begin to lose its flavor and may even develop an off-flavor. Donate only foods that are well within the quality dates marked on the package.
A woman checking the expiration date on a food item at a grocery store

Expiration Dates

“Expires 9/01/23” or “Do not use after 9/30/23.” Look for these dates, yeast, baking powder, and cake mixes.  Foods have to be within a year of the date they are donated. 
A man checking the dates on a food item in a grocery store

Pull Dates

Example: “Sell by Aug 16.” Look for these dates on perishable, refrigerated foods such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream, eggs, lunch meat, and packaged salad mixes. Perishable foods, except for garden produce, are usually not included in a food drive. If they are, choose foods that are well within the pull date.

Package Integrity

Besides looking for a date, be sure to check the integrity of the package. To ensure that the food has not been contaminated, donate only foods from unopened packages. Avoid foods with packaging that shows signs of leakage or damage. Do not donate canned items that have broken seams or large dents.
Your donation only makes a difference in the life of someone in need if the product donated is within the date marked and of good quality. If you question the integrity of the product or wouldn’t feed it to your household—it is probably best not to donate it.

Home-Canned or Grown Ok?

Are home-canned foods, fresh eggs or produce safe to donate? Food pantries often welcome donations of fresh produce. However, home-canned foods, meat, or eggs that have not been handled by licensed food processors should not be donated.

Good Examples of Foods to Consider

Food pantry guests are extremely grateful for the help that they receive through the pantries. Pantry guests welcome your donations of safe, high-quality foods so that they can feed themselves and their households healthy, nutritious meals.

How You Can Help Make a Difference

Our mission is 100% dependent on direct donations, grants and partnerships.
Learn more about donations, partnerships, & join us today!

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