Helping Hungry Families ~ Where to Go and What to Give

Tips for donating to a local food bank or food drive

By Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock-Lone Tree Publisher April 11, 2018

Hunger happens every day, even in Douglas County. Approximately 40% of those who receive help from local food banks are children, which means thousands of children in our area are suffering from food insecurity. 

Donations are especially important for the summer months, when many children who receive free or reduced-rate meals through the National School Lunch Program are home for all three meals.

Choosing food to donate to the local food bank was the first way we involved our children in community service. From the time they were toddlers, we would let them select a few food items from the grocery store to donate to "children who don't always have enough to eat." 

Typically, they chose their favorites — one son always wanted to give a box of Cheerios and another insisted we provide ketchup for their chicken nuggets.


  • No-cook foods. Families may have broken appliances or may not have power for a few days. Dried fruit, cereal, granola or protein bars, tuna fish, peanut butter, crackers, and other grab-and-go food items are important.
  • Items that cannot be purchased with SNAP (food stamp) benefits, including diapers and baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, soaps and shampoos, toilet paper, vitamins, and medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Gluten-free or allergen-free items. Put these items in separate bags and label them clearly so these items get to the right families.
  • Pet food. If you were in financial trouble, you wouldn't want to have to give up your family pet. Pet food donations can help entire families, including the furry members, stay intact through difficult times.
  • Treats. Of course, nutritious foods are most important but cookies or a box of "just add water" cake mix and frosting will bring a smile.
  • Certain fresh food items. Many food banks are thrilled to receive perishable items such as excess harvest from your garden, fresh milk, or meat, but have limited storage space. Call in advance to find out needs and make arrangements.
  • Cash when possible. Food banks can provide more than $3 worth of food for every $1 donated.


  • Expired food. Please check the labels before donating.
  • Exotic items. Hungry families don't need caviar, pickled herring, jarred artichoke hearts, or crates of Red Bull.
  • Food in glass jars. They are extra heavy and break easily.

Help "Stamp Out Hunger" on the second Saturday in May! During the annual NALC Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive — the largest one-day food drive in the nation — letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America collect food donations from their participating postal customers. To donate, simply place a bag or box of non-perishable food items next to your mailbox, and your letter carrier will take care of the rest!

Make an even greater impact with monthly or semi-monthly donations to your nearby food bank (please call for donation hours). The following locations serve families in Douglas County:

  • Douglas/Elbert Task Force, Castle Rock – (303) 688-1114
  • Food Bank of the Rockies, Castle Rock – (303) 688-3025
  • Inter-Faith Food Bank, Englewood – (303) 789-0501
  • Cherry Hills Community Church, Highlands Ranch – (303) 791-4500
  • Living Way Fellowship Food Bank, Highlands Ranch – (303) 797-7076
  • Food Bank of the Rockies , Littleton – (303) 799-1036
  • Mission Hills Church Food Bank, Littleton – (303) 953-7136
  • Parker Task Force, Parker – (303) 841-3460
  • Southeast Community Church, Parker – (720) 842-5621