What's in a Red Bag

Print a grocery list here.


All items should come INDIVIDUALLY packaged.

The links provided are just examples of each type of item - the brand you purchase can vary:

Shelf stable milk cartons (chocolate preferred)
• Microwave Meals – Prego/Campbell's/Pace Ready Meals, Barilla pasta entrees and Hormel Compleats
• Individual Cup of Noodle (water is only added ingredient)
• Individual Mac & Cheese cups (water is only added ingredient)
• Packs of cheese or peanut butter crackers
Fruit cups in 100% juice - tip: mandarin oranges are popular!
• Bars (granola, Clif, fruit) – tip: look for bars with higher protein
Individual cups of instant oatmeal - tip: the cups are easier for students, but packets are ok, too.
100% juice boxes or pouches - tip: no glass bottles
• Chicken or tuna snack packs with crackers, or snack pouches
• Packets of trail mix    

• Beef jerky


Grocery store gift cards are also accepted.

Click here for a printable copy of the grocery list.
2020-grocery list.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [238.9 KB]

Do I have to buy everything on the list?

No. Please fill the Red Bag with items listed above, but you do not need to buy everything on the list. We sort all of the collected food and then distribute it to local schools, so every school gets a variety to fit their needs.


Are there any other tips when I fill my bag?

When filling your red bag, please remember to double check expiration dates on your food items. Also, please leave all food items in their original packaging. Our sorters will unpack certain foods at the sorting site before distributing the bins of food to local schools. 


What food items are most needed?

The most requested item is chocolate milk! They also love the Kirkland brand chocolate chip granola bars. You can check our Facebook page before each collection; if our pantries have special requests, we'll post it there.


Is there anything I cannot donate?

If it is sugary (like candy, gum, baking mixes and cookies), home cooked in your kitchen, already opened, expired or not on the Red Bag grocery list, then we cannot accept it.  The tag that is attached to your bag has a complete list of items that we are collecting or you can print the latest grocery list below. 


Can I donate toiletries, household items or family-sized items?

Some of our schools do have pantries where they also distribute these items along with food items on our grocery list. We also collect toiletries and personal hygiene items for students.


Have more questions?  Visit our FAQ page for more information.

Food For Neighbors has created an Amazon Wish List to make shopping even easier for our next Red Bag collection. Check it out and get your shopping done early.

Request a Red Bag

Upcoming Events

The next bag collection will be Saturday, Sept. 12.

Please leave your bag out no later than 8:30am.

 Upcoming Red Bag dates, here.

Add dates to your calendar here.

Need a list of food we collect?

Our program is growing and we need your help.

Making a Difference

For the March 2020 collection, we received over

11,000 pounds of food

from over 900 participating households.

Thank you!

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support FFN every time you shop.  Click HERE to get started.

Get Social

Connect with us on Facebook to learn about upcoming projects and volunteer opportunities, and see photos of our FFN volunteers in action.

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Food For Neighbors is located in Herndon, VA, and proudly serves local middle and high school students in Fairfax County and Loudoun County.

© Food For Neighbors®

Food for Neighbors® is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public charity and your donation is tax-deductible under U.S. tax law. To claim a donation as an itemized deduction on your taxes, please keep your email donation receipt that we will send you. Any funds raised in excess of our goal for any particular project will be automatically applied to the other ongoing work of Food for Neighbors®.