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Why I started Tiktoking Food Pantry meals

It's crazy to think that in 2023 68% of American families are living paycheck to paycheck. Out of that precent 38% do not know where their next meal is going to come from. After losing my business in 2022, which was both my home and photo studio unfortunately my family ended up homeless and one of the 38% that did not know how we were going to afford the next meal for our family. Neither of us were working due to an injury and the loss of my studio. We had no idea when we could buy groceries again with supplies getting low. We had enough money to get into an apartment and turn on our utilities but that was it. The honey suggested we start using the food pantry and with that I started making TikTok's. Often, we got some really crazy ingredients we had no idea how to cook with and had to learn how to waste not and use them in new and creative ways. I have gained an amazing following and each of you have inspired me to make an informational spot on how to use the food pantry, what to donate, and how to use some of the items in recipes. Thank you for tagging along. 

  • TikTok

How do I find a local food pantry? What do I need to bring? 

  • Google Local food pantry or food bank in the area you live in. See what the phone number is. Call during hours of operation to see if they have and specific requirements, what pickup slots they have available and if they accommodate to nut allergies or not. Also is another great resource for finding local food banks.

  • Some food pantries may require proof of income based on state guidelines and unfortunately cannot give food based on government funding requirements. Try a local church instead. Most require no proof of income or only an ID card. 

  • Food pantries often give out close to expired or expired food. Use Good food safety judgment. I have a chart to the right explaining expiration dates. 

  • The food pantry can also be referred to as a food bank. They are the same thing.

  • If you have little to no money left for food after you pay the bills your family should be using the food pantry. You are not taking away from others in need! You are in need. It's okay to get help.

  • Food pantries were started with the intention of reducing food waste and feeding families in hopes that we can one day reduce food insecurity.  In order for these resources to be available and communities to meet the demand please take the help that is offered. If you don't take the help, you need the resources centers cannot account for donations properly for the community. 

Preserved Food

What should I donate?

A commonly asked question from my followers that are able to give back to their community is what should I donate? Money is a very appreciated donation to give back to the local food banks. Money donations can help with utility assistance programs or provide pantries the abilities to purchase food to disperse locally. But if your strapped for cash, are cleaning out your cabinets and want to give back here are some ideas for donations.  And always we want to give a huge thank you to anyone that takes the time to give back you are a blessing for helping your community and giving back to your own people.

Low-income homes often struggle to afford spices. Salt and pepper are a great start but let's think outside the box. Dried basil, oregano, paprika, bay leaf, cumin, five spice, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, garlic powder, ect.


Oil is a key component to cooking and many low-income families struggle to afford it. Try and donate good oils like seed oils, olive, avocado, tallow, lard, and coconut oil. Other acceptable oils are canola, vegetable oil, and corn oil. 

Canned or powdered milk

Shelf stable meals are extremely helpful to low-income families that do not have access to proper refrigeration. It's helpful to donate evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, boxed almond milk, boxed oat milk, and powder milk. If your pantry accepts it, you can also donate baby formula.

Diapers, feminine products

Low Income families struggle to afford diapers, wipes, feminine products, body soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo. Have a Christmas soap gift set laying around you'll never use? Those are great to donate to help others!

Pasta & Rice

Pasta and rice are great fillers in combination with jarred sauces, and some spice. If you can try and donate both gluten free, and regular pasta. Also, there are many varieties of rice along with quinoa, couscous, orzo, wild rice, and more. Speaking of jarred sauces great things to donate include alfredo sauce, spaghetti sauce, pesto, cheese sauce, whole canned tomatoes, etc.

Microwavable meals

There are low income families that are homeless, live out of their car, or in hotels. Donating microwavable meals provides them, with a meal that can be reheated easily, or even eaten as is if food safe to do so.


Not only is vinegar great to cook with but it makes a cheap cleaning agent in low-income households. If you can donate white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar etc. 

Potted Meats

Potted meats really help out families that cannot afford meat or lack proper refrigeration. If you can donate canned tuna, salmon, canned beef or pork, canned or bagged chicken, canned sausages, etc. 

Fresh Produce, Milk, Eggs, Meat

Some pantries accept fresh food including meat, veggies and fruits from community garden donations, milk, eggs, yogurt, butter, and so on. Many low-income families have limited access to fresh food, so any bit helps. Just make sure to call your local food pantry and check to see if they accept fresh donations. 

Baking Ingredients

Basic baking ingredients can help low income families create all sorts of homemade baked goods on a budget. If you can donate flour(wheat, white, rye, masa, corn meal), sugar (brown, white, can, sweetener, baking powder, baking soda, ec.

Condiments and Snacks

Condiments take dishes to another level. Donate some of your favorites. Snacks are unheard of in low-income homes. Every human deserves a treat once in a while. If you can donate a case of pop, snack cakes, fruit snacks, fruit cups, applesauce, etc. It doesn't take much to be a good human. 

Handheld can openers

Some Low income families do not have proper can openers to open the cans they get from the pantry. If you can run to the dollar tree, pick up extra pairs and donate them to your local pantry. 

Resources for Fighting Food Insecurity

If you are struggling with food insecurity I put together a list of a few resources to help locate local food pantries and food banks that offer food assistance. Feeding America will help you locate a local food pantry while the American Heart Association and the USDA have lots of reading material and other resources to educate yourself and your family on how to still try and eat a heart healthy diet while struggling with food insecurity. No one should have to struggle with figuring out where their next meal is going to come from. 

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