Donate Food & Clothes

Donate Food & Clothing

For over 40 years, Care for Real has relied on the generosity of neighbors and the efforts of dedicated volunteers to operate.  Care for Real depends on donations of food, clothing, personal care, and household items for distribution to our clients.  Listed below are some of our most needed items.


Standard Items

These standard staple items are the most distributed foods at the Care for Real pantry.

Suggested items include:
100% shelf stable fruit juice
canned fruits and vegetables
canned meat products; beef stew, pork and beans, tuna, chicken, ham, beef
canned food items
breakfast cereals (whole grain, if possible)
peanut butter
black and green olives, dill pickles, sauerkraut, anchovies,
pasta. beans and rice
soups and broths and other miscellaneous items
coffee and tea
baby food

Care for Real cannot accept:

open or used items
foods in rusty, severely damaged or unlabeled containers
outdated or expired food items
homemade canned goods or re-packaged goods
prepared foods that are unpackaged
alcoholic beverages

Healthy Choices

Care for Real is making an effort to not only “fill bellies” but to do so in a healthier more nutritious way.  As the majority of clients turning to Care or Real include seniors and families with children under the age of 18, we are aggressively seeking food donations to help ensure our clients are living healthier lifestyles.  This coincides with our  “client choice” food distribution model that allows folks to pick and choose the food they receive from Care for Real.

Suggested Items include:
100% shelf stable low sugar/sugar free fruit juice, non-perishable canned goods (low sodium if possible), canned fruits (sugar free or light syrup), canned tuna and chicken, breakfast cereals (whole grain), low fat peanut butter, light jams and jelly, whole wheat pasta, brown and wild rice, dried beans, barley, bulgar, farro, quinoa, polenta,  low sodium soups and broths, spaghetti and pizza sauce, salsas, olive and canola oil, canned beans (white, kidney, pinto, black, navy), canned tomatoes (no salt),  canned artichokes,  whole wheat crackers, whole wheat pizza crust, mustard, ginger, raw sugar, spices, honey, vinegars, low sodium soy sauce, low fat salad dressings, nuts, seeds,  dried fruit, pita chips, pretzels, popcorn, high fiber protein bars, fruit leather, and coffee.

Personal Care Items

diapers (always needed)
personal care items such as toothpaste, soap, razors, shaving cream, shampoo, body wash, deodorant
laundry detergent
paper towels and toilet paper

Clothing and Household Items:

gently used or new, clean clothing: men’s women’s and children
winter coats, hats, and scarves
shoes and boots
sheets, pillowcases, blankets, and linens
plates, glasses, and cookware
other household items

Care for Real cannot accept:

furniture and large items
electronic equipment
(Click Here  to a link for disposal on non-working electronics.)


If you would like to make a monetary donation, visit our main Donation page.
If you are making a donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, you can add Care for Real, Agency #A00022, to your check to designate us as the beneficiary of your donation.

Drop Off

Donations are accepted at the rear of our building from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm weekdays and 9:00 am to 12:30 pm Saturdays. Enter the driveway immediately north of 5341 N. Sheridan and proceed to the rear of the building. Our unloading area is located at the northernmost set of grey double doors at the end of the building. Please do not leave donations outside the door when the office is closed.