I’ve had the chance to volunteer at my local food bank warehouse lately and here’s what I’ve learned there about people’s charity.

Think outside the box
Just because people are down on their luck and are turning to a food bank does not mean they can live on macaroni and cheese, beans and canned tuna alone. Yes, I know these items are cheap, but don’t you think this is the exact kind of bare-minimum food people can afford to buy themselves?

Kudos to donors who have the foresight to send coffee, condiments, 1-litre juices, nutritious school snacks and occasional treats like chocolates and cookies. Diapers and toilet paper are always in demand.

Not your dumping ground
If you’re cleaning out your pantry, don’t bring your garbage to the food bank. There’s a reason you refuse to cook or eat it, so why subject your fellow citizens to it instead.

The faded cover design on that box of Shake N Bake from the 1970s is a dead giveaway. So is the layer of dust covering that can of smoked kippers.

Surprising donors
“Evil” corporations donate the biggest amount of food, from day-old bread and pastries to thousands of cans of soup to hundreds of kilograms of fresh fruit and produce. Canadian Pacific railway even donates boxcars every week to move donations to food banks across the country.