Food Bank Happily Accepts Store-Bought Food Left Untouched This Holiday Season

By Addison Speck, Reporter

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By Ellen Kurt

WATERLOO, Iowa - Every year, Americans generate three times as much food waste between Thanksgiving and New Year's than they do the rest of the year, according to the World Watch Institute. That's an extra 5 million tons. But some local food banks are hoping some of your leftovers hit their shelves instead of the trash.

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank serves approximately 40,000 people, which means donations are crucial.

"It doesn't matter how much money you can donate or how much food, every little bit counts. For every dollar that is donated to the food bank, that equates to almost $12-worth of food we can distribute," Sunni Kegebein, the Development Manager, said.

So before anyone throws out what was left behind from the family Christmas party, look to see if any untouched store-bought items remain. Things like bread, produce, and canned meat that have an expiration date.

"Perishable items are most definitely welcomed here at the food bank. We like those because we really strive to provide nutritious meals for all of our clients," Kegebein said.

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank accepts products near expiration date, seasonal items, and slightly dented/damaged product.

The food bank does not accept homemade or home canned products, boxed food items with inner seals torn or punctured or prepared foods.

Also, the food bank is always looking for items like peanut butter, fruit juices, and boxed meals such as Hamburger Helper.

"If you've got the extra, bring them in. We'd be happy to take them and that way they don't just go in the trash and get wasted," Kegebein said.

For more information you can visit www.northeastiowafoodbank.org.

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