Healthy Food Drive

More than 10% of children and adults in St. Mary’s County are food insecure, meaning they do not have regular access to healthy food such as fresh produce, whole grains and low-fat milk. Lack of healthy food has been linked to chronic disease such as diabetes, obesity and delayed cognitive development in children.
In response to this health issue, partners of the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) action team are working to increase the amount of healthy foods that are distributed in our community.  The HEAL team has created the following tips and tools for local businesses, organizations and community members that would like to make a difference by hosting a healthy food drive to benefit St. Mary’s County residents in need.

HOW TO HOST A HEALTHY FOOD DRIVE

  1. Choose a Location. Your Healthy Food Drive can be hosted anywhere that works for you! (Your home, workplace, school, church or even at a local event as an entrance incentive (e.g., bring healthy non-perishables and receive a discount or a raffle ticket).
  2.  Set a Time Frame. Your Healthy Food Drive can take place over the course of a month, week or could even be a one day event.
  3. Connect with a Local Food Pantry. Be sure to contact the food bank or pantry you’d like to benefit from your Healthy Food Drive before you have it! This way you can arrange for drop-off or pickup of all the healthy foods you collect.  The HEAL team is happy to connect you with one of our partner pantries that are in need of healthy non-perishable items.
  4. Spread the word. Market your Healthy Food Drive to the community. You can use this Healthy Food Drive Flyer that was created by the HEAL team which helps donors know which foods they should bring. You can also share your event information through the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership Newsletter and social media outlets by completing this quick online form.
  5. Host your Healthy Food Drive. Collect healthy foods and then donate them to a local pantry. Feel free to share photos of your healthy food drive on the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership Facebook Page. Finally, pat yourself on the back for making a difference!

EXAMPLES OF HEALTHY FOOD DONATIONS

Fruits and Vegetables: Healthy Food Drive Foods
  • Low or no sodium canned vegetables
  • No sugar added or unsweetened canned fruit and fruit cups
  • Unsweetened all natural applesauce
Grains:
  • Plain, low sugar oatmeal or rolled oats and cream of wheat
  • Whole grain, high fiber cereal
  • Low sugar and fat granola
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Brown or wild rice
  • Quinoa
Dairy:
  • Low fat shelf stable powdered milk
  • Low fat, calcium fortified and shelf stable regular, soy, almond or rice milk
  • Low or no fat pudding cups
Snacks:
  • Low sugar, low fat and low sodium granola bars and protein bars
  • Plain, no salt added popcorn
  • Whole wheat fig bars
  • Whole grain rice cakes
  • Reduced fat, whole wheat and multigrain crackers
  • Low fat pudding cups
  • Dried fruit (100% fruit, no sugar added fruit leathers, raisins and dried fruit)
  • Low sugar protein bars
  • 100% fruit juice boxes
Proteins, beans and legumes:
  • Low sodium canned chicken, tuna and other seafood in water
  • Low sodium beef stew, chili or bean soup
  • Low or no sodium canned or dried beans and lentils (black, pinto, white and kidney beans chickpeas, etc.)
  • Shelf stable tofu
  • Low sodium or all natural nut butter
  • Unsalted nuts and seeds
Other:
  • Bottled plain/still water
  • Baby food (fruit and vegetables and whole grain cereals)
  • Low or no sodium shelf-stable pasta sauces
  • Low or no sodium chicken, beef and vegetable broth
  • 100% fruit or low sodium vegetable juice
  • Virgin and extra virgin olive and canola oil
  • Low sugar fruit spreads