The Donation Dilemma – Cash vs Cans

By Jenna Cura
March 12, 2020
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Students collecting money and food

“What makes a bigger difference for my hungry neighbours – donating of food or money to the food bank?” 

At The Mississauga Food Bank, we love getting this question. It means our supporters are thinking about how they can maximize the effectiveness of their donations and help as many hungry neighbours as possible. It’s easy to enthusiastically respond saying, “Whether you are donating food or funds – your gifts will help provide hungry neighbours with the meals they need. We are grateful for your support.” 

However, it also gives us the opportunity to talk about how gifts of cash exponentially increase the effectiveness of donations – by contributing to higher purchasing power, increased nutritional quality, and investments in innovative solutions to combat food insecurity. 

How Your Dollars Make a Difference

The Mississauga Food Bank receives very little government funding. That means we rely on donations to distribute food for healthy, nutritious meals to people who need them most. When you donate cash instead of cans, you are helping increase the positive effect of your donations in three key ways.   

1) Contribute to Higher Purchasing Power

When you donate cash, we are able to purchase food in large quantities at wholesale rates. We spend time researching and negotiating with distributors to find the best deal on canned fruits, veggies, and protein – ensuring we get the best value per dollar spent. 

Think about how much it costs you to purchase enough food for a meal in a grocery store. Or even how much it costs to purchase 5 cans of beans to donate to the food bank. With our purchasing power combined with industry food donations, every $1 you donate provides food for 2 whole meals to a hungry neighbour. 

2) Providing Nutritionally Balanced Food

The health and wellbeing of clients is the food bank’s first priority and our most needed items are the fresh foods required for a balanced diet. However, it is a challenge for you to donate fresh items like eggs, milk, yogurt, or fresh fruit and vegetables! Your cash donation allows us to purchase fresh food so clients can exercise choice in their nutrition and access sufficient portions of nutritionally balanced foods. 

At The Mississauga Food Bank, our objective is to source adequate food from the 4 categories of Canada’s Food Guide that provides a balanced diet to hungry neighbours. We use financial donations to purchase food in the categories we’re running low on. 

3) Investing in Food Rescue and Innovative Food Sources

Your gift of cash ensures ongoing impact by helping us invest in food rescue efforts. Grocery stores and restaurants are incredible partners, often donating large quantities of items that they can’t sell. However,  these food donations need to be picked up and distributed quickly. Your cash donations help fill food rescue trucks with gas, maintain equipment, and recruit volunteer drivers to aid in food rescue efforts – decreasing food waste and delivering more food to the neighbours who need it most. 

Fighting Hunger in Our Communities

At The Mississauga Food Bank, our vision is to create A Mississauga Where No One Goes Hungry. We are the central food bank in Mississauga and distribute food for over 4.6 million meals each year through our network of 50+ agencies – including neighbourhood food banks, pantries, and meal and snack programs,

Our mission is to relieve hunger in Mississauga by providing and promoting access to healthy food for people in need. We believe it takes all of us to fight hunger and we invite you to fight hunger in your community by supporting your local food bank

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