Where to Donate Your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Thanksgiving means leftovers (as evidenced by examples G, O, B, B, L, and E).

But in a season where a lot of us are surrounded by so much, it's important to remember those who aren't as fortunate. In 2015, an estimated 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households. Food insecurity, while a slightly ambiguous term, basically boils down to limited access to adequate food due to a lack of money and/or other resources.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

To help, instead of having a pantry full to the brim with cans of pumpkin well into the summer, consider donating your Thanksgiving leftovers. Here are some suggestions:

  • Try donating Thanksgiving leftovers to your local food pantry. You can find a food pantry near you here.
  • Call your local food bank to see what their policies are about donating food and whether they accept leftovers or only canned items. Here's where you can find one closest to you, searching by state of zip code.
  • Homeless shelters, housing shelters, and non-profit charities accept food donations. Here's a good non-profit directory. You can also use this interactive map to find homeless shelters and service organizations in your state. Again, it's always a good idea to contact the shelter or organization to see what their donation policies are.
  • Some restaurants donate their leftover food every night at the end of service. Contact your local restaurants and, if they do donate their leftovers (and they should!), see if you can add yours to their nightly donation.

Tell us: Have you donated your Thanksgiving leftovers before?

Your Everything Guide to Thanksgiving
Check It Out
Your Everything Guide to Thanksgiving

Top-notch recipes, expert tips, and moreā€”it's all right this way.

Check It Out

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I fall in love with every sandwich I ever meet.