In an effort to balance its pantry and stock up on a variety of items that are really needed, officials at the Plainsboro Food Pantry are looking for specific items that are not typically considered by those making donations.

According to Cindy Capritti, program coordinator for the township’s Department of Recreation, officials are really looking for themes, including breakfast items and shelf-stable complete meals.

“We have lots of soups, canned vegetables, and dried pasta,” said Capritti. “I’m trying to re-direct people’s giving to the items we really need.”

The grocery items the pantry needs include: applesauce and canned fruits; breadcrumbs; cake, bread, and muffin mixes and frosting; dry cereal (cold or hot); coffee, tea, and coffee creamer; condiments including ketchup, mustard, dressings, vinegar, oil, olives, relish, barbecue sauce, and pickles; cookies, crackers, popcorn, and other sugar-free, low or no-salt snacks; diapers (sizes 4, 5, and 6); white or wheat flour; gravy; lactose-free infant formula; jello, pudding mix; juice; mayonnaise; canned meats like chicken, turkey, ham, and tuna; whole, evaporated or condensed or canned milk; oatmeal and cream of wheat; pancake mix and syrup; pasta mixes like PastaSides or PastaRoni; instant and canned potatoes; powdered drink mixes; rice and boxed rice mixes; salad dressings; stuffing; salt-free or low-salt nuts; peanut butter and jelly; sugar, honey, and sugar substitutes; and tomato and pasta sauce.

Capritti would like to stock up on boxed dinner meals and meal starters, known as “shelf-stable dinners.” Examples include Hormel Compleats microwavable meals; Hormel Homestyle Bakes boxed meals; Shake ‘n’ Bake; Hamburger Helper; and taco kits. “We could definitely use them.”

While Thanksgiving is coming up later this month, Capritti said the pantry is running a food drive in conjunction with a local corporation, and officials are anticipating that typical Thanksgiving holiday food needs are taken care of, “but it doesn’t mean we can’t use more of those items.”

The pantry is also looking for personal care items including adult incontinence pads; body lotion; deodorant; disposable razors; sanitary pads and tampons; shampoo and conditioner; soap; and toothpaste and toothbrushes.

The pantry is not currently accepting baby food, canned beans, boxed macaroni and cheese; canned or dry soup; plain or dry pasta; or canned vegetables.

Small donations may be dropped off between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Department of Recreation and Community Services, located in the municipal building on Plainsboro Road. For large quantity donations, call Capritti at 609-799-0909, ext. 352, to schedule a delivery.

In addition, the Plainsboro Post Office will have a bin set up for collection throughout the holidays.