Waukesha County

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 Healthy Shelves

Help fill food pantry shelves with nutritious foods using this Healthy Shelves donation checklist.


We are passionate about providing education around healthy food donations to food pantries. Learn about nutritious recipes, alternatives for food donations, and how you can bring a healthy food drive initiative to your workplace or community.

Visit healthyshelves.org to learn more about the Healthy Shelves Project!

History of the Healthy Shelves Food Pantry Donation Checklist:

Food insecurity increased from 10% to 14% of U.S. households in 2007-08 and has remained about the same since then, increasing reliance on food pantries. People who are food insecure are at greater risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity. Those who are food insecure are less likely to get the nutrients they need for good health. In order to better meet the needs of pantry clients, food banks and pantries across the country are looking more closely at the foods they are providing to clients.

The Food Team committee of the Diabetes: Working Wellness in Waukesha Together* group analyzed 143 food bags at two food pantries in Waukesha County over 7 months.

  • The most frequent item in food bags was macaroni and cheese.
  • Mixed dishes such as canned soups were also common.
  • Fewer days’ worth of fruit and milk were provided compared to grains, protein and vegetables compared to MyPlate guidelines. These findings are similar to other studies.
  • People who use food pantries may not be getting enough fiber-containing foods, dairy foods, and fruits, and may be getting too much sodium and saturated fat.

Food pantries are not merely providing food anymore– they are impacting people’s health! The Food Pantry Donation checklist was developed to promote donation of items that will help address nutritional gaps and better meet the needs of pantry clients.

*The Food Team committee of the Diabetes: Working Wellness in Waukesha Together group includes the Salvation Army, Mount Mary University, UW-Madison Division of Extension Waukesha County, the Food Pantry of Waukesha County, National Kidney Foundation, NuGenesis, ProHealth Care, and the Medical College of Wisconsin. The Food Drive Checklist was created as part of a project funded in part by the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program, a component of the Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin endowment at the Medical College of Wisconsin.


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Handforth, B. et al.. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013
Hoisington, A. et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2011
Akobundu, U.O. et al. J Am Diet Assoc. 2004


More & more Wisconsinites are using food pantries to meet their food needs. Pantries play an important supporting role in their clients health....Learn more about The Safe & Healthy Food Pantries Project

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