I’ll never again hand out sweets on Halloween after working at a food bank. I’m offering trick-or-treaters something better in its place.

After working at a food bank, I witnessed the amount of candy that is wasted after Halloween. More wholesome and substantial foods are needed by food banks and the people who use them. I now give out chips and crackers instead because they are tasty snacks with greater substance and nutrients. For daily delivery of the newest tech news and scoops to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter. Thank you for registering! In the days following Halloween, I observed an almost continuous parade of individuals leaving off bags of leftover candy from trick-or-treating.

The majority of the donations were thrown directly into the trash because we only had room for two milk crates’ worth of sweets.

Extra candy was periodically left out on tables on food distribution days where I worked. At the end of the day, the majority of it was still in the bowls despite our invitations for guests to take as much as they wished. Then we’d place it on the volunteer area table. Similar to the candy that shows up in break rooms at work after Halloween, the majority of it was thrown out at the end of the week.

Seeing the trash always gave me the willies. The resources utilized to make the unappealing confectionery could have been better spent on wholesome foods that could have fed more people.

I was warned not to include candy in food boxes for our clients at my food bank orientation. If someone asked, we could distribute things like baking chocolate, but food banks are in the trying to give people nutrition business.

Candy has no nutritional benefit and is frequently rejected by our clientele.

Even no candy, no soda donation policies has been implemented in some food banks. The policies acknowledge that lower-quality diets is more common among those who experience food insecurity. They also want to inform people about the importance of sharing nutrient-dense foods.

People who lack access to food are used to receiving high-calorie, low-nutrition foods . However, our customers really appreciated receiving fresh produce that wasn’t mushy or discolored. Clients preferred sweets to be at least somewhat filling when they ate them. Fruit pies were quickly consumed, but sweet birthday cakes were typically left on a shelf to decompose.

Of fact, each food bank may differ slightly. But I guess the majority would choose cash instead of candy or healthy things from their lists of greatest needs.

I had time to consider my own Halloween handouts each time I threw a bin of candy into the food bank’s trash.

I won’t be handing out toothbrushes or salad kits to trick-or-treaters anytime soon, but this year I’ll be dishing out more substantial lunchbox snacks in place of sweets.

I’m not saying that packaged snacks like chips and cookies are healthful. Even while they are still considered snacks, they do contain more fiber and vitamins than Skittles or Starburst and do offer some nutrition.

Children can still appreciate them, too. When sorting through their Halloween finds the previous year, my nieces and nephew started with the snack-size packages of chips.

I don’t mind keeping these treats in my own pantry if all else fails. And I am confident that I won’t have to discard them if they do wind up at the food bank.

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