Shawano doctor encourages donating healthier choices to food pantries

SHAWANO, Wis. It's the season of giving, and many of us will be asked to help out with local food drives, but before donating to local food pantries, you may want to think twice about what food items you're donating.

Diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol are just some of the problems that come with eating unhealthy foods.

"The people we're donating to in the food pantries are our neighbors, our friends, community members who have many of the same health problems that many of us do as well like diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol," said Dr. Jasmine Wiley, Family Medicine Physician with ThedaCare.

Dr. Wiley says certain food ingredients can affect our bodies negatively.

"Some of the additives that are in food, things that are high in fat, high in salt have a negative impact on our body and choosing the things like whole grains, you know fruits without sugar added in things like jams, lower sugar things just really help boost your energy," said Dr. Wiley.

ThedaCare and SAFPARC, a food pantry in Shawano is encouraging people donate fresh and healthy food items to all pantries this season.

"Canned soups that are low in sodium, the whole grain pastas, brown rice, you know spice mixes that don't have a lot of added salt,” said Dr. Wiley.

The SAFPARC food pantry is open five days a week, on average they see about 30 families daily and up to 700 families in month.

"Because we're open five days a week, we can have things like milk and eggs, fresh food and vegetables," said Florence Withers, SAFPARC Pantry Coordinator.

Before donating, remember to check expiration dates, read the labels and think about the effects it could have on your neighbors.

"The fresh vegetables you know, when they're grown, they come right off the garden it's really neat because they don't last long, they really go quick," said Withers.