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Canning Food Drives?

Pete Springer/OPB

For many people, the holiday food drive is an integral part of the holidays. But what if instead of donating canned food during the holidays, we wrote checks to food banks so that they could buy more food themselves? According to Katherina Rosqueta, the executive director of The Center for High Impact Philanthropy, that’s a smarter way to go.

Rosqueta says that when consumers buy food at retail prices and then donate it to a food bank, they’re actually spending more money than they need to be. That’s because food banks can often buy food in bulk at a lower price.

But according to Patti Whitney-Wise, executive director of the Oregon Hunger Relief Task Force, many food banks rely on both food and monetary donations. And a representative from the Oregon Food Bank says that donations from the public allow them to distribute products that are difficult to get through other channels.

Getting food to the people who need it is especially important in Oregon, where food-insecurity for children is among the worst in the nation.

If it turned out that donating money was more helpful than donating cans, which would you choose to do? Have you organized or benefitted from a food drive? How would a system focused more on monetary donations affect you?

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OPB | Broadcast: Dec. 13, 2011