There's a reason many people prefer to give a can of food rather than a check. It just feels better, Northwest Harvest spokesperson Claire Acey said.
It can also be educational. When kids collect canned food at home and bring it to a school food drive, they're learning a lesson in philanthropy, she added.
But food banks can make a dollar go a lot further than a can of beans.
Northwest Harvest can feed a family of three a nutritious meal for 67 cents, Acey said.
"Even for a can of beans at $1.30 or $1.40, we can come up with six meals for that," she said.
Big holiday food drives are still helpful, Acey said.
They provide variety, particularly by including ethnic foods that serve an increasingly diverse population at the food bank. By purchasing bulk foods directly from distributors, food banks can supplement donated food.