Put a grocery store on your holiday shopping plan and pick up some food for your local food bank.

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WHEN you prepare for the holidays, make sure you include in your grocery shopping some items for your local food bank.

Northwest Harvest reports donation requests have changed lately, so take note of the new shopping list. Gayle Johnson, head of external relations, says the focus is on healthy food these days, both at your house and in the homes of people who depend on food stamps for most of their groceries.

So skip the ramen and buy whole-wheat pasta or brown rice instead. Look for low-sodium canned vegetables and fruit in water or juice. Choose tuna, canned chicken, peanut butter or another protein that doesn’t have a lot of salt. Other requests include shelf-stable milk, baby formula and baby food.

For more information

Northwest Harvest:


Food Lifeline:


• Seattle Times Fund for the Needy:


Cash and checks are always in style, for families and your local food bank.

Food banks aren’t looking for donations of holiday food.

“The basics are what people need,” Johnson said, adding that Northwest Harvest buys a lot of holiday food in bulk.

But cash and checks are always in style, for families and your local food bank. The benefit of a cash donation is the way it will help when donations are not as plentiful. Johnson says the shelves of your local food bank will likely be bare in July and August.

If you really want to help hungry people, put a reminder in your calendar to make another visit to the grocery store on behalf of your local food bank at the end of June. Ask your Independence Day guests to bring a bag for the food bank along with their famous potato salad.

Or just set up an automatic payment to go to the food bank every month, as if you’re sharing your grocery account with a hungry family.

And while you have your checkbook open, consider writing a check to The Seattle Times Fund For The Needy, another great way to help a lot of people and organizations with just one check.

Since 1979, readers of The Seattle Times have given generously to nonprofit agencies around the Puget Sound. This year, every dollar donated will be split among 12 organizations. The newspaper hopes to raise $1.5 million this holiday season to make a difference in the community.