Adopt a Food Shelf

Make a difference locally.

This act of kindness can quickly become part of your regular routine.

Possible recipients

Your nearby food pantry. Find it by calling 2-1-1 (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 pantry.

What you’ll need

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Bag or box for collecting the food
  • Decorating supplies (optional)


  • Call the food pantry first to see if they can accept your donations. Find out any guidelines and drop-off times.
  • Decorate a box or bag with markers, crayons, stickers or stamps.
  • Place the container in your kitchen.
  • Each time you go to the grocery store, pick out one or two extra non-perishables. (Take advantage of any 2-for-1 sales.) Talk to your children about what kinds of foods families might need most.
  • When your box or bag is full, take your family to the food pantry to drop it off. Ask if they would be willing to give you a tour!


  • Have you ever been hungry and had to wait to get food? How did it feel?
  • Close your eyes and imagine if you ate only one meal a day for days or even weeks. How do you think that might feel?
  • What are some things you know (or think you know) about people who are hungry?
  • Do you think you should help those who are hungry? Why or why not? What other things could our family do to help out?


  • Stone Soup by Anne McGovern (Scholastic, 1996). Ages 4 and up. In this old folktale a hungry traveler tricks an old woman into feeding him by telling her she can make soup from a stone.
  • What the World Eats by Faith D’Aluisio (Tricycle Press, 2008). Ages 10 and up. Through colorful photos, maps and recipes, this book profiles families and the foods they eat while raising important questions about world hunger.
  • A Kid’s Guide to Hunger and Homelessness: How to Take Action! by Cathryn Berger Kaye (Free Spirit Publishing, 2007). Ages 9-12. Find out what kids are doing in their communities to address the problems of hunger and homelessness. Then make your own plan of action.

Take it further

  • Get your whole neighborhood involved! Drop a note in each neighbor’s mailbox asking them to leave non-perishable food items on their doorstep on a certain date. Then pick up and deliver the items to your food shelf. If possible, make it a regular effort. Write thank-you notes to those who donate.
  • Research what ethnic foods might be needed by your local food pantry. Make a special trip to a grocery store that specializes in those foods and add a few items to your collection box.

Want to take the lessons further on this important subject? 
Order the DGT™ Kindness Curriculum which uses stories and discussions to empower kids to help!

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