Towards More Senior Friendly Pantries

Veggies SNAPSenior Nutrition is currently working on the creation of literature and a training program for food pantries that focuses on the special needs—nutritional and otherwise—of senior clients. The objective of this pantry training is to ensure that the senior clients of local food banks are having their needs met. There are an array of medical conditions to which the elderly are more susceptible that require a special diet. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, lactose intolerance, conditions to which the elderly are more vulnerable, often require a diet of food stuffs that are not always readily available at food pantries. As such, the Senior Nutrition department hopes to collaborate with pantries during trainings to establish best practices for accommodating senior clients. Proposed accommodations include senior specific literature—with large font, senior specific pantry dates and times, and special senior diet sections (i.e. low sodium, low carb/sugar, lactose-free) to accommodate dietary needs. Implementing senior-friendly pantry practices will not only require the cooperation and support of pantries, but also donors. An equally important aspect of this project will include educating donors on healthier food donation items, a list of which is found below.

Healthier Food Donation Items:

Dairy: Milk, Yogurt and Cheese

  • nonfat dry milk
  • evaporated milk
  • instant breakfast drinks
  • small boxes of shelf-stable (UHT) milk
  • canned and boxed pudding
Protein Foods: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, and Nuts

  • canned tuna
  • canned chicken
  • canned beef stews
  • canned salmon
  • bean soups
  • canned or dried beans
  • baked beans
  • canned chili
  • peanut butter
  • canned nuts

  • canned vegetables
  • vegetable soup
  • canned tomato products
  • spaghetti sauce
  • V-8 juice

  • canned fruit
  • raisins
  • applesauce
  • dried fruits
  • baby-food fruit
  • fruit leather (100% fruit)
  • canned and boxed 100% juice
Grains: Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta

  • rice and rice mixes
  • canned pastas
  • noodle mixes
  • dry noodles and pastas
  • macaroni and cheese mix
  • cold cereals
  • bran cereal
  • shredded wheat
  • hot cereal mixes
  • oatmeal
  • bread and muffin mixes
  • pancake mix
  • whole-grain crackers
  • granola bars
  • graham crackers
  • flour
  • bread
Oils and Condiments

  • vegetable oil
  • salad dressing
  • syrup
  • jelly and jam
  • honey
  • sugar
  • mayonnaise


Certain non-food items may also be welcome. Call your local food pantry to see what they need. These are all items that cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits!


Paper Products

  • toilet paper
  • paper towels
  • napkins
Soap Products

  • hand soap
  • laundry and dish detergent
  • cleaning products
Personal Care Products

  • shampoo
  • toothpaste
  • toothbrushes
  • shaving cream
  • razors
  • deodorant
  • feminine hygiene products

  • tea
  • coffee
  • spices

Erin Van Patton is an Americorps VISTA ( Anti Hunger and Opportunity Corps) with Hunger Free Colorado.


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