Donating Your Extras: Find a Food Pantry Near You

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If you’ve been reading Bargains to Bounty for a while, you know that a large part of my passion for saving money is that it allows you to stretch your current grocery budget even further. You can spend less, provide more for your family, and then donate your extras to others in need. The Michigan economy has created a challenge for all of us – and in turn, food pantries in our area face greater needs than ever.

You might be wondering which items food pantries need. Anything unopened (and not expired) with a long shelf life is welcomed, but items high in protein are always in demand.

Recommended Food Pantry Items

  • canned fruits and vegetables
  • canned or pouch meats (tuna, chicken, salmon, spam)
  • canned pasta
  • peanut butter
  • jam or jelly
  • pasta and rice
  • pasta sauce
  • soup and chili
  • macaroni and cheese
  • cereal
  • granola bars or cereal bars
  • powdered or shelf-stable boxed milk
  • baby food and formula
  • juice and juice boxes
  • crackers

Other items are always appreciated, so don’t limit your donations to only those items. Here are additional suggestions:

  • baking ingredients (flour, sugar, vanilla, salt, cooking oil, etc.)
  • individual snack items for lunches
  • toilet paper and tissues
  • laundry and cleaning items
  • personal and hygiene items
  • diapers

Find a Food Pantry Near You

Search by zip code to find locations that accept donations nearest you.

If you live in Oakland or Wayne county, you may also want to check out American Food Resource.

He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor. Proverbs 22:9

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  1. 1

    colleen says

    Excellent post! Thanks for the link, I found a pantry right down the road that I didn’t know about.

    I have yet to take stuff into a pantry and have them turn anything down. The need is so great right now, that they will find someone to use what you are dropping off.

    That being said, if you plan on dropping off anything that requires a fridge or freezer call ahead to see if they have one available, because that is hit-or-miss.

  2. 2


    Thanks for posting this. I totally forgot about my old church and it’s food pantry. I’ll be bringing stuff to them this week.

  3. 3

    Jessica Mukavetz says

    I make my donations at Open Door Outreach in Whitelake. They also are in great need of personal items and baby items. They are a great local resource to my community. I’m so greatful to blogs like yours that help me to be able to help others in my area!
    Thanks so much for all your time!!

  4. 4


    Wow! That gave me shivers. Just a couple of hours ago I looked at the food I have ready to take to the food pantry and realized that I needed to write a post like this for my blog. I was even trying to think of a Bible verse to put with it. Would you mind if I put a link to this on my blog?

  5. 7

    Tammy says

    I donated a few weeks ago and I called to see what they would and wouldn’t take. To my suprise they don’t accept band aids but do accept cough meds. I was so happy to help others out.

  6. 8

    Kristie says

    Pantries are a great way to help others out. All those Bayer Meters that were moneymakers from Walgreens I donated to church who in turn took them to our local pantry and to my suprise she said they flew off the shelf! How awesome it is when God blesses us that you can return the favor with something that others need. It’s definately something I’m going to add to my blog. Thanks for sharing!

  7. 10

    Sarah C. says

    Just wanted to note that I had around 20 or so Bestlife Butter tubs and I called ahead to my local food pantry and they were delighted to take it even though it needed refrigeration.

  8. 11

    coraspartan says

    Thanks Jolyn–I was just thinking I needed to find this list again because I have a box of personal care items to donate.

  9. 12

    Lee Robertson says

    Thanks for posting this! I donate extras all the time.
    For those that don’t know about it,there is a free clinic in Whitmore Lake that is always in need of medical supplies.I can’t remember the name of it right now though.

    Don’t be afraid to donate short dated items….Gleaners in Howell offers short dated and out dated and dented,and if someone chooses to take those items,they do not count towards the total weight of food they get that day.

    For personal hygiene items,don’t forget our solders serving overseas….they appreciate gifts from home,even if it’s from a stranger…..

  10. 17

    carrie says

    Does anyone know of a place in need of diapers near warren? My littke one has outgrown some and I would love to help others!!

    • 18

      Stacey says

      Pregnancy centers and women’s shelters are always looking for diapers… you might try calling some in your area.

  11. 19

    Esther a homeschool momma in Mid-Michigan says

    I donate directly to my local American Red Cross from time to time, but only after I donate to visiting missionaries to my church. Our small church supports over 20 different missionaries each month and when we get newsletters of how much their support has dropped, it makes pause and pray how I can support them better. We don’t have a lot of money, we have adjusted to living on only one income for over 3 years now, but my cupboards are overflowing thanks to God’s gracious provisions. It’s blogs like “Bargains to Bounty” that put together the deals, that saves me tons of time and money!
    Now when a visiting missionary stops by the church, I can put together a package customized for their family’s needs :)
    Thank you Jolyn for all your hard work and I pray that you’re enjoying your new addition:)
    God Bless!

  12. 20


    Set a bag or box aside to put your donations in, even if you haven’t pinned down a food pantry yet. You’ll be certain to see a lot of ad hoc donation drives as Christmas approaches. It’s a very common service project for clubs, troops, classrooms this time of year.

    A very big list of food pantries in southeast Michigan also can be found on Julie’s List She’s got three pages just on that topic.

  13. 21


    Lara posted this update on the Facebook page. These nearby food banks are currently in desperate need:

    “Samaritan House in Washington Township near 30 mile & Van Dyke. I do know that others are hurting too (talked to 3 agencies today for work and they all said they need some- CARE in Fraser, United Way- Macomb County, and Leaps & Boundz- Mt. Clemens). They really need diapers, wipes and formula as well as Detroit Diaper Bank. In addition, Agape Center in Washington Township is low. Finally Macomb Food Bank could use all the food they can get as they service the smaller agencies and have more requests than ever!”

  14. 22


    Hello!! Just wanted to add in here…I donate to a food pantry that is 3 miles from my house…makes it great when I have a TON of extras from the garden! Also, another great organization is Operation Care Packages -Michigan….they are 100% non-profit and 100% volunteers. Check out their site, it’s wonderful! They send many, many items that I would have never thought of to troops every month, between 400-600 of them! We packed 100 boxes last thursday night! Send me an email if you would like to help…with all the free samples we get or can coupon to get for free; its a win-win!! : )