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Did You Know You Can Triple Your Donation At Chum?

Updated: Feb 14

by Food Shelf Director, Scott Van Daele

March is almost here and, the Minnesota March FoodShare Campaign will begin on February 26th and will continue until April 6th.  I want to thank you for your past support.  Because of the efforts of groups like yours, the 2023 campaign raised $91,630 and 69,188 pounds.


Our goal for this year is to raise $100,000 and 50,000 pounds of food to stock our shelves, and we can achieve that success in this campaign with your help.


During 2023, the Food Shelf distributed 533,152 pounds of food to 15,781 people in Duluth. Our Food Shelf was a major source of each visiting family’s nutrition throughout the year. Together we are fulfilling our call to feed the hungry.


So what do we need?? More money, or more food?? We need both! But the Food Shelf can do much more with money.  As a member of Second Harvest Food Bank, our money goes much farther than it would shopping at Super One or Cub Foods. For every $1 that gets donated, we can buy $3 worth of food—that’s three times more!!!


We hope you will all get creative, have fun, and help us raise funds and food! We can’t do this alone!


Please let us know if you are on board to help.  Resources for awareness material like posters, hunger fact sheets and other informational forms can be found at  If you have questions or want to more information, I am always available to help at 218.727.2391.



So, you’re ready to donate food to the Food Shelf. That’s great! Whether you’re starting a food drive or just planning to grab a few extra items for donation while out grocery shopping, there are a couple of things you should know about what you can (and should) donate and what Chum won’t accept.

What food you CAN donate to Chum:

This part is pretty easy. Chum accepts dry and canned food donations. What does that mean? Basically, any food that is “shelf-stable” or nonperishable – you can keep it in your pantry and it won’t go bad. And remember, only donate food that hasn’t reached its “sell-by” date yet. Specifically, Chum often need items like:

  • Peanut butter (Small Jars-16oz)

  • Canned soup (Non Cream)

  • Canned fruit

  • Canned vegetables

  • Canned stew and Canned Pasta

  • Canned fish

  • Canned beans

  • Pasta

  • Rice

  • Cereal

That’s not an exhaustive list, but it covers much of what Chum regularly needs. Additionally, Chum accepts NEW personal care and household items since many families struggle to afford them and aren’t covered by other food assistance programs like SNAP.

Look in your pantry if you’re still stumped about what to donate. Families struggling with hunger often can’t afford the staples that we normally have stocked at home. So, check your pantry out and go from there. Even specialty foods like olive oil, dressings, or marinades can be helpful if they don’t need to be refrigerated.

What not to donate to Chum:

The number one rule to remember is this: if your donation is perishable, i.e., it’s something with a limited shelf life if not refrigerated, Chum can’t accept it. But there are other categories of food that you can’t donate. We've broken it all down into this handy list:

  • Items needing refrigeration: As we've already mentioned, this is the big one. Food like produce, dairy, and meat can spoil easily and we often times do not have the refrigerator or freezer space needed to keep these items fresh. While an individual can’t donate a bunch of bananas or a frozen turkey, Chum works directly with farmers, retailers, restaurants, and other companies to source these perishable foods for donation.

  • Expired food: When considering what to donate, think about what you’d be comfortable serving your family. Chances are, you don’t eat food that’s past its “use-by” or “sell-by” date, so avoid donating anything past those dates as it could be unsafe to eat.

  • Leftovers: While it may be tempting to want to share the bountiful food from big meals like Thanksgiving, it’s best to keep leftovers for the family. To ensure the people they serve are safe, Chum can’t accept leftovers or anything made in personal kitchens because they aren’t individually sealed and Chum can’t verify the ingredients or preparation process. 

  • Food with packaging concerns: This includes food with damaged packaging such as dented or bloated cans, packaging that is already open, or even items in glass containers, which can shatter and cause food safety concerns for any other food they’re stored near. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn't consider buying it new, don't donate it.

  • Baked goods: Similar to leftovers, since Chum can’t confirm how your baked goods were made or their ingredients, they can’t be donated. But, Chum has relationships with local restaurants and bakeries which will donate extra food that is properly labeled and handled to Chum.

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