65 Non Perishable Foods for a Thanksgiving Food Drive

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Our family believes in practicing an attitude for gratitude year round. During the holiday season it’s especially important to give back to those in need, and Thanksgiving is a popular time to do just that with a food drive. We’ve compiled this Thanksgiving non perishable foods list to help!

canned food drive

As a child, I can remember how much I loved helping organize the canned food drive at school each Thanksgiving. I know I’m far from the only one, as the holiday season (November and December) is the most popular time for food drives across the United States.

42 million Americans and 1 in 6 children facing hunger every day, making food banks always in need of unopened, nonperishable items and dry canned goods. Non-perishable food donations are a great way to give back to your community during the holiday season. Many families struggle to make ends meet during this time of year and may not be able to afford a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Thinking of hosting a food drive at your child’s school, church or office? First, be sure to call or email your local food bank BEFORE you get started. Many have rules about the kinds of food they are able to accept, and can also let you know the items they truly need this holiday season.

Get the entire family involved with collecting the items on this Thanksgiving non perishable foods list. Our family actually loves to do a reverse advent calendar in December to donate two months in a row during the holidays. It’s a powerful way to start teaching your children about not only giving back to local families, but about the realities of hunger in our own backyard.

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Items You Shouldn’t Donate to Food Banks

As you compile your list, be sure to remember that there are certain items food banks are unable to take, like:

  • Items in glass containers, usually because the glass containers may break easily and spoil the other donations.
  • Opened items, as these can’t be served or provided to individuals for food safety and contamination purposes.
  • And while this one might seem obvious: expired items. Be sure to check those expiration dates!

65 Thanksgiving Non Perishable Foods to Donate

Below is a full list of non-perishable foods that are great for canned food drives. The food items on this list have a long shelf life, making them a great choice for food banks.

At the end of this list are also non-food items that many food banks are also in desperate need of. Consider adding these items to your donation list as well!

This is a great opportunity to start talking about giving to others and gratitude. Consider playing this Easy Gratitude Game while you build your box of donations.

Here is our full list of non perishable foods that can last for extended periods of time before their expiration date.


Canned Chicken

Canned Tuna

Canned Salmon


Canned black beans

Canned garbanzo beans

Canned green beans

Canned pinto beans

Canned carrots

Canned tomatoes

Canned corn

Canned cranberry sauce

Pantry Staples

Peanut Butter


Tea Bags

Instant Coffee

Powdered Coffee Creamer

Pasta Sauce

Dry pasta noodles


Dry Beans



Canned soup

Canned broth or stock

Canned fruit


Breakfast cereal

Boxed stuffing mix

Instant Mashed Potatoes


Graham Crackers


Ramen Noodles

Salad Dressing

Cooking & Baking Essentials



Olive oil

Canola oil

Vegetable oil

Garlic powder

Dried Oregano

Dried Basil

Sauce packets




Dry cake mix and icing

Maple syrup


Baby Needs

Baby Formula


Baby Food

Baby Wipes



Clorox Wipes


Sanitary Napkins

Adult Diapers

Toothpaste & toothbrushes

Body wash

Shampoo & conditioner

Bar soap

Over the counter medicine like Tylenol, DayQuil, Motrin etc

list of non perishable items to donate thanksgiving food drive

You might also enjoy these holiday articles:

Reverse Advent Calendar (Start December 1!)

100 Unique Ways to Say Happy Thanksgiving

Free Printable Thanksgiving Activity Book for Toddlers

Final Thoughts on Thanksgiving Food Donations

The items on the list above are just a starting place. Depending on where you live, and the unique needs of your community, your local food banks might be in need of other non-perishable food items. That’s why I’m reminding you again to please call the one you would like to donate to BEFORE getting started with your food drive.

While collecting the items on this Thanksgiving non perishable foods list is a wonderful way to help families in your community, monetary donations are also very appreciated by food banks. Whether you give a charitable gift, or donate grocery store gift cards, the support truly does matter to those organizations.

While it seems small, a canned food drive is a powerful way to start your children on the path to service to their community in a meaningful way. Remember that food banks need support all year long! If your family enjoys this, consider turning this food drive into a quarterly way to give back. You can also ask your local food pantry if they know of any free kitchens that are in need of volunteers to serve on Thanksgiving Day.

If you found this Thanksgiving non perishable foods list helpful, please share it on social media or pin it on Pinterest to help inspire other families this Thanksgiving too.

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