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5 Canned Food Items Only Jerks Donate to Food Banks…


Like many kids who grew up poor in Oklahoma City, I’ll never forget the unloading of the bags and boxes from the food bank on the kitchen counter, meticulously separating the different canned foods and boxed dinners into meal ideas with my mother, hoping that they’d last until the end of the week, praying they’d last until the end of the month, making miracles out of acquired tastes like powdered eggs and pickled pig’s feet.

They say beggars can’t be choosers, but, by that same token, the choosers don’t have to be jerks. Now that the holiday season is finally coming around, many Metro food banks and shelters will be asking for your canned goods and other non-perishable foodstuffs to help many needy families have some sort of subsistence through this trying season. That being said, the food bank ain’t your own personal dumpster, hoss.

When donating food, always ask yourself: is this something I would want to eat? Put yourself in the position of a struggling parent, trying to provide edible, nutritious meals for the kids and just stick to the basic list of recommended items that all food banks are typically in need of: peanut butter, cereal, tuna, beans, rice, mac and cheese, chili, canned stews, canned soups, canned fruits, and snacks like granola bars and the like.

Going back and thinking about digging through those bags and boxes, collected from my own impoverished personal experiences, here’s the five most dreaded canned food items that, just as it was then it probably is now, only jerks donate to food banks…



Canned Pumpkin

Sweet Lord Almighty, if there was one canned item that was as useless as all get out, it was the requisite six cans of pumpkin filling that always seemed to accompany every hand-out. Poor people don’t make the time and energy to make their own pies, and if they do, it probably ain’t pumpkin. It’s not like we could have even afforded pie crust and whipped topping anyway, so why bother? I actually think that I still have a handful of them—Libby’s, if I’m not mistaken—that were passed on from my mother to me when I moved into my first place about 20 years ago.



Canned Beets

O.K., let me get this straight: out of the literal hundreds of canned vegetables available to modern civilization, you’re really gonna go with the canned mothereffin’ beets? C’mon, man! Even people who say they like canned beets hate canned beets and to choose them over, say, some hearty green beans or a nice can of whole kernel corn, that is just a total jerk move, bro. How can you even sleep at night?



Canned Baby Clams

Look: I totally get that you might be a fancy gentleman of means and can afford to enjoy things like pouring fancy whole baby clams all over your assorted bougie pastas and salads. But, really, how about just sticking to some good ol’ fashioned tuna fish packed in spring water, ready to enjoy with a depressing brown bag lunch of broken Ritz Crackers (or their no-name “snack cracker” equivalent) and Miracle Whip packets stolen from the breakroom condiment drawer? Let the poor have some canned seafood-based dignity for one, Col. Dollarbritches.



Canned Whole Chickens

If you’ve ever wondered what a deleted scene from Eraserhead might look like in your own kitchen, crack open a tin of Sassy Sue’s Canned Whole Chicken or two and then repeat to yourself “In Heaven, everything is fine…” until you truly start to believe it.




Canned…um…Whatever The Hell This Is…

Here you go: the ultimate jerk donation! You don’t know what it is, you don’t know where it came from and, truth be told, you don’t give a care either way. It could be butterscotch-flavored rat poison, but maybe throwing it in the donation box helps you to feel like you are contributing to society in a bid for some sort of spiritual redemption to rid you of heinous collective sins over the past year, you know, just in case both Santa and Jesus are watching. Sorry, son, but if there is a key to the gates of Paradise above, I’m pretty sure it’s not shaped like Buy for Less clearance item. If that can’s got a dent, its shelf life is spent! Even worse, if that can ain’t got a label, then donating it is off the table! ¡Cómpralo Ya!


Looking to truly make a difference and help Oklahoma City’s hungry families this winter? Here’s a few outlets in need of all kinds of donations:

City Rescue Mission (800 West California Ave.)

Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma (3355 S. Purdue)

Jesus House (1335 W. Sheridan Ave.)

The Salvation Army Central Oklahoma Area Command (1001 N. Penn Ave.)


I just want to be your canned chicken this Christmas. Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler.

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