Do you give name brands to charity drives? Is the economy a factor?

Our schools are all doing canned food drives this week and as I ran to the grocery store to buy some supplies I started pondering: Do most people buy the brands they would normally buy for their families or do they go for the cheaper, store brands to donate? Is their choice different in this economy versus five years ago?

With canned food drives my husband is inclined to go into the cabinet and hand out whatever the kids are not eating.  My mom told me to buy peanut butter since it was going up in price.

I did end up buy a name-brand soup because I do think there is a taste difference there but I bought the store brand for canned peaches and pears. (I didn’t think the quality would be any different.) I bought Kix cereal because it was on sale.

This is an issue I have dealt with for many years in my own head.I never want people getting the charity to feel like they are any less so I always buy what I would buy for my family. However, in this economy I have less to spend overall.

I had similar quandaries when we moved to New York City when I was 23 years old. We were staying at a hotel for a month before we could move into our apartment, and every day I walked by this homeless man who didn’t have any shoes. He had a coat and pants but used plastic bags for shoes. I felt so terrible for him, and I wanted to buy him shoes. One day I asked him if he would tell me his shoe size and I would go buy him some shoes. He told me and as I walked off to buy him some shoes I panicked. Should I buy him a no-name brand of tennis shoes or buy him Nike like I would buy for Michael? (I was unemployed at the time as we had just moved for Michael’s job. His company was paying for the hotel.) I went to the shoe store up the street and bought him some Air Jordans because I didn’t want him to think I thought he deserved any less than my husband.

When I finally told Michael the story (I didn’t tell him for a while because I didn’t want him to get mad at me for spending the money.), his feeling was that I was going to get the man stabbed in the homeless shelter when someone tried to steal his new Air Jordans.

I think about this issue with toy drives at church too. I generally buy the name brands on toys because I do think kids are pretty aware and sensitive to wanting real Barbies.

But does it make more sense to buy the off brand if you could buy two instead of 1 and actually provide more?

Where do you stand on name brands versus store brands for charity drives? Do you have different standards for cans versus toys? Do you think about it or you do just pick up the brands you normally go to? Do you give what the kids aren’t eating in your own cabinet? Do you think a person receiving the charity would notice if it was a brand name or not? Has the bad economy affected not just amount of charity you can provide but what you choose to purchase?

68 comments Add your comment

Fred

November 18th, 2011
5:52 pm

Uh, Casssidy…

November 18th, 2011
5:10 pm

…have you ever heard of Whirlpool brand appliances – how about, Kenmore, Frigidaire, Maytag, and maybe others – they are ALL made by Whirlpool Corporation, just under different licensing agreements – in fact, the basic difference in “name” brands and “store” brands is in the marketing – you pay for all the commercials you see on TV and in print for the “names”, and pay less for the “store” brand since they do not advertise them…
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Appliances are NOT food and you are dead wrong when it comes to the food. Well for Kroger anywya. They OWN the plants that process and distribute their store brand and I would bet the other stores do as well. By doing so, they cut out the middleman. They are able to charge less than they can for the name brands and yet receive a higher profit.

Research something before you speak so condescending to someone, it will help you be an ass less often.

missnadine

November 18th, 2011
6:34 pm

I do collect cans and other goods, such as cereal, nuts, and so forth. I usally buy BOGO at Publix, and use coupons when I have them. I buy the same I would for the house – a mix of name and store brands. One thing I have been doing several times a year, for a few years: when Publix has their promotions – back to school (supplies), Thanksgiving/Christmas (food), I will buy 10 at a time of their packages. It costs a lot, but then I also have that receipt for charity. Last week I bought 10 of the mid-price bags (about $9 each) and had them ring these up separate from my food bill. I have an almost $100 receipt now, and 10 people get a little more than they had before. I know I could buy more if I shopped myself, but this is convenient. At the end of the year, I have 3 or 4 receipts.

Penguinmom

November 18th, 2011
7:28 pm

If we are purchasing specifically for a food drive, I usually buy store brands because then we can purchase more items and help more families. We will set an amount we are going to spend and then we try to mix up what we buy, some canned foods, some rice, peanut butter, and cereal.

For toys, in the past I have tried to watch for clearance items and purchased those to give away but usually I will let the kids pick out one reasonably priced toy each for give away. Most regular name brand things have at least one set that is priced low enough to purchase.

I have to agree with Michal on the shoes. I think the guy would be grateful for any shoes at all especially since you were kind enough to ask his size so he would know they fit. I would have probably purchased a lower priced pair and considered getting him something else as well (perhaps socks?) to go with it if I wanted to give more.

Wow, Fred...

November 18th, 2011
7:36 pm

…”Research something before you speak so condescending to someone, it will help you be an ass less often.”

Hello, pot – calling the kettle black are we…

Enemas for Easter

November 18th, 2011
8:16 pm

Fred
November 18th, 2011
5:52 pm

Uh, Casssidy…

November 18th, 2011
5:10 pm

…have you ever heard of Whirlpool brand appliances – how about, Kenmore, Frigidaire, Maytag, and maybe others – they are ALL made by Whirlpool Corporation, just under different licensing agreements – in fact, the basic difference in “name” brands and “store” brands is in the marketing – you pay for all the commercials you see on TV and in print for the “names”, and pay less for the “store” brand since they do not advertise them…
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Appliances are NOT food and you are dead wrong when it comes to the food. Well for Kroger anywya. They OWN the plants that process and distribute their store brand and I would bet the other stores do as well. By doing so, they cut out the middleman. They are able to charge less than they can for the name brands and yet receive a higher profit.

Research something before you speak so condescending to someone, it will help you be an ass less often.

___________________________________________________________________________________

You make an excellent point Fred. Why should regional grocers like Kroger or Publix spend less money contracting their canned food when they can spend more on their own plant and distribution? This is why their canned food is cheaper? Just how dumb are you? I hope you don’t have children as this planet does not need any more stupid people to drag us down.

Becky

November 18th, 2011
8:27 pm

Whirlpool and Maytag are also known to a lot of people as Hoover..

djm_NC

November 18th, 2011
8:35 pm

mjg–i do the same…i buy the donations as i do for myself. i highly doubt people who are needy enough to go to a food bank really get offended if they dont get name brands. i have often wondered how to get things like milk to people. i know you can get a gift certificate at a lot of grocery stores that say you cant spend it on alcohol or tobacco…maybe one could buy several of those and give to the food banks. has anyone ever done that?

as for the angel trees and things like that…i always had my kids pick out a kid of their own age and buy them a gift or 2..the last few years i try to pick the ones that are reasonable. i have seen these angel ornaments with requests like PSP2 etc…and then you see the heart breaking ones that say socks or shoes or a jacket. i usually pick a couple of those and then add an age appropriate fun gift to it. no matter how broke i have been i always get a kid a gift. i know they are sometimes much worse off than i am. and these days–i see people at work ( i work at a bank now) who absolutely break my heart. there is an elderly lady who comes in…she lost her job and get $100 a week on UE…isee her getting thinner and thinner and more and more discouraged. i plan to give her something for the holidays-i just am not sure what. im trying to find out if she has food stamps or what. itws just heart breaking.

I got the runs!

November 18th, 2011
9:02 pm

Thanks to you tumble weed hair lady!

Oh yeah, my buddy Nix got stabbed for his shoes.

fcm on cell

November 19th, 2011
2:49 pm

Del Monte is BOGO @ Public right now.

Old School

November 19th, 2011
6:26 pm

My husband and I volunteer weekly at our local food bank. The overwhelming majority of donated food items are indeed name brand. Our donations are the same products we regularly buy for ourselves… we just get extra to share.

bessbear

November 19th, 2011
10:19 pm

I agree with PenguinMom – we want to feed the most people, so I buy whatever is cheapest. I don’t feel bad about it either. I know I am doing a good thing. And, particularly around the holidays, I clip coupons for items others might like – and hope I get a BOGO deal along with it. In those cases, I might give a name brand. For me, it’s about feeding the most people. I’m sorry if they would prefer name brand, but once they get working, I’m sure they’ll be happy they can afford their own food choices.

Old School

November 20th, 2011
7:31 am

@Fred: For a number of years, I worked as part-time in plant engineering (after teaching all day) at a local plant that produced peanut butter and a large variety of pickles. Some of the labels were that company’s but many were name brand and many more were for a myriad of smaller brands that were shipped all over the world. It was the same product off the same production lines and packed under the same quality standards.

There is a difference, however… in “distributed by” and “product of”.

Dennis

November 20th, 2011
1:40 pm

Most private label foods are made by major manufacturers as “Fill in” to use un-needed capacity on their production lines. I would expect for basic canned fruits and vegetables that the product would be identical – of course for anything that there’s a “recipe” it will vary to some degree.

Thanks to those of you...

November 20th, 2011
5:43 pm

…who responded to put Fred in his place…

my2cents

November 20th, 2011
7:05 pm

After children are out of middle school and more aware of how things work I really think they should be working on donating money – getting a case of green beans at sams or costco is more cost effective and they should understand that. Same on the shoebox thing. Otherwise this is just a chance to clear out things the kids decided they don’t care for anymore. The other thing is that while the schools are relentless in requests for this, there are no donation receipts given – so it’s harder to quantify on the tax return. I’ve had to explain that to the kids also. They see me donate when I can get a receipt – I’m not exactly scrooge. They need to understand the emotional issues are not the only concern in making donations.

tracey

November 21st, 2011
6:40 pm

i buy both store brand and name brands, just usually extras of what we eat at home.

Frugalady

November 23rd, 2011
6:41 pm

I would give what I would buy for myself. That said, I buy my rice in 25 lb bags, lentils&beans in 20 lb boxes (canned beans are too expensive), pasta in 20 lb boxes, flour in 25 lb bags, etc. If a charity or individual will accept re-bagged, no-name items, then I would gladly share.

Ken

November 23rd, 2011
9:21 pm

I find the article down right annoying. People who give, do so out of the kindness of their heart. And, to make statements that the can goods and other food stuffs are unhealthy….is annoying at best! What cha say…nobody donates a dang thing! If I were getting donations of food when I was hungry, I believe I would simply say Thank You, not….oh this is high in fat or contains MSG. Get real would ya!