Package Rice and Beans for a shelter. This act of kindness is perfect for a family holiday gathering.

Repackage Rice and Beans

Help stock the food pantry!

Rice and beans are nourishing, filling, and infinitely adaptable food staples. Feed the hungry in your community by transforming inexpensive bulk-packaged goods into meal-sized portions.


Possible recipients

Food shelves and the people they serve. Find a nearby food shelf by calling2-1-1 (the human services hotline) if it’s available in your area. Or click here to find your local food bank. They can direct you to your nearest food shelf.

What you’ll need

  • Large bags of rice or beans from a discount store or bulk foods section of a co-op
  • Quart-size reclosable plastic bags
  • Large bucket or other container to hold rice and beans
  • Scoop or plastic measuring cups
  • Rice and/or bean recipe and stickers to print it on (optional)


  • Before this project, call your local food shelf to make sure they can use your donation.
  • Have everyone wash their hands before handling the food (or wear plastic gloves).
  • If you’d like, print a recipe for how to cook rice or beans on sticky labels and apply one to the outside of each plastic bag.
  • Scoop the rice or beans into quart-size reclosable plastic bags and seal.
  • As you’re sorting portions of rice and beans into bags, talk about how food shelves are often short on food that folks of different cultures want to eat.


  • How would you feel if you needed to get your food from a food shelf?
  • What kind of foods would you hope to find there?
  • Why do you think rice and beans might be a good thing to have at a food shelf? Did you know that rice and beans are staples for people in many parts of the world?
  • How else can you make a difference for those who are hungry?


  • Tight Times by Barbara Shook Hazen. A young boy desperately wants a puppy but his family is having a tough time getting by. Then he stumbles upon a kitten that needs a home.
  • Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley.  A child is sent to find a younger brother at dinnertime and is introduced to a variety of cultures through encountering the many different ways rice is prepared at the different households visited.

Take it further

  • Make it a goal to stay connected with the food shelf and keep it stocked with a steady supply of family-sized bags of rice and beans. Check out our project: Adopt a Food Shelf.
  • Invite several families over for a South American meal of rice and beans, and ask each to bring a large bag of rice or beans to donate to your effort. Maybe they can even help scoop and sort.

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