VERIFY: Is donating canned goods a waste of resources?

A controversy just in time for the giving season

ATLANTA -- A headline trending across social media this week is begging you not to donate canned food. 

It’s a story that has likely made an appearance on your Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds just in time for the giving season. So 11Alive set out to verify the claims.

First of all, the source it came from is a column first published in a Canadian newspaper called the National Post 2 years ago. It’s since been picked up and spread getting millions of views every holiday season. But is the argument it makes against donating food solid? Let’s break it down.

First is the claim that canned goods incur prohibitive costs to sort and handle: The Atlanta Community Food Bank says this is not true. Their work is done entirely by volunteers.

This part is FALSE

And then comes the bigger claim that food banks can stretch your dollar in ways impossible to even the savviest shopper:

This part is VERIFIED

Atlanta Community Food Bank Director Kyle Waide said that, because of partnerships, they can turn every dollar donated into $9 worth of groceries. But that doesn’t tell the whole story – including why canned food drives are so much more successful than purely monetary drives.

"There are added benefits. Sometimes efficiency isn't the only factor that matters," Waide said. "And so, again, if what you want is to kind of engage your community, donating physical food is the way to do that."

Overall, we're putting this one down as MIXED since donation drive prohibitive costs can be overcome by organizations using volunteer labor but, on the other hand, many organizations do have the ability to get food at a discounted rate.

Sources:

► Atlanta Community Food Bank Director Kyle Waid
► COLUMN I'm begging you: Stop donating canned goods to food banks - National Post


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