Bethesda Help Food Drive

Help us support the work of Bethesda Help, which provides food for our Montgomery County neighbors.

Below is a list of the items Bethesda Help needs most, however all non-perishable food items are welcome.


  • Instant oatmeal packets (6 or 12 individual packs)
  • Oatmeal (round box)
  • Cereal (unsweetened)
  • White and Brown Rice (1 lb. bag)
  • Pasta (any type) white or whole grain (1 lb box)
  • Mac n Cheese (7.25 oz)


  • Tuna (packed in water) – 5 oz
  • Chicken – 12.5 oz
  • Salmon – 12 oz
  • Beans – 15.5 oz (black, garbanzo, pinto, great northern—low sodium)

CANNED FRUIT (15 oz –in light syrup or juice)

  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Pears
  • Mandarin Oranges


  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Mixed Vegetables


  • Canned or Plastic Containers of Spaghetti Sauce
  • Peanut Butter (18 oz) creamy or crunchy
  • Shelf Stable Milk (not powdered)
  • Jelly (in small squeeze bottle)

NOTE: Items that we CANNOT accept

  • Food in glass containers
  • Bulk food items (see the size of items on our pantry list)
  • Items that require refrigeration
  • Food that is past its use or sell by date (see below for more information)
  • Cans that are dented, swollen, bulging, leaking or rusted

Information on Food Dating

Before you donate food that is past its best by or best if used by or sell by date take some time to learn about package dates first here. As you’ll learn, most food is perfectly good to eat weeks, months, and even years past those dates! Knowing this, Bethesda Help does share food past date. Here’s a guide to how long past date they’ll distribute commonly donated items:

  • Baking Mixes – 8 months
  • Dry Beans and Nuts – 1 year
  • Cereal and Crackers – 1 to 2 years
  • Uncooked Rice/Pasta – 1 to 2 years
  • Canned High-Acid Foods (peaches, tomatoes, juice, etc.) – 12 to 18 months
  • Canned Low-Acid Foods (meat and vegetables) – 2 to 3 years
  • Food in Glass/Plastic Jars – 2 to 3 years