Out of the Bag: Sniffles and Soup

January is soup and sniffles month.

Welcome to January (and perhaps back to work.)

When we selected a "theme" for this month - it wasn't hard. It is cold season (and flu, bronchitis and pneumonia season) so we stick with two basic items: soup and tissue. 

Soup is a core donation. It is nourishing, warm and can stretch. It is also frequently on sale and there are ALWAYS coupons available. The beauty of those coupons is that they are often for 3 or 4 item - so you can pick up the 1 or 2 cans you need and use the coupon/doubling and perhaps an in-store sale to pick up a few more cans to donate. During Jan, Yinz Save n' Share will make an extra effort to point out soup deals to benefit you and your neighbors. 

January is National Soup Month so you can have a lot of fun with this and know you are making a practical impact. Interesting soup facts:

  • Soup dates back to 6000 BC and was made of hippopotamus.
  • There are two basic types of soup: clear and thick. Which do you prefer?
  • We suggest a variety of soups including low sodium, low fat and "core" cooking soups. Consider meats and hearty stews to help make it a meal.


As for sniffles, we urge you to donate facial tissue. This item cannot be purchased with SNAP (food stamps) and its not inexpensive. We all know that kid who has a runny nose and no visible tissue or kerchief. Guess why? We also know teachers who personally pay to keep their classrooms well stocked with tissue. The $5 you save a family with a three pack of tissue can go to fuel in the gas tank, milk for the kids, or a medical co-pay. It really does matter.

January is also National Hot Tea Month and National Oatmeal Month, also good donations this time of year. And - coupons!.

We do not accept over the counter medications. They will be disposed of, but we urge you to contact your local pantry to see if they can accept these items. 

Action Steps:

  • Organize a soup drive at work - invite your lunch buddies to bring in a can, put into a tote and take to your nearest drop-off spot.
  • Talk with your children about these items - things we often take for granted. Invite them to shop with you to pick up a tissue multipack. Send a few boxes to school (tactfully) to support the kids in the classroom who need the assist. 
  • Invite some friends over for a soup night - and ask them to bring a can along with them. 
  • Share your favorite soup (or homemade cold recipe) in the comments section.



The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project collects new and gently used tote bags for distribution to the region's food pantries. We are a project of the Thomas Merton Center. Visit our website for a list of permanent drop-off spots, information on how to organize your own tote bag drive and details on our partnerships with corporations and promotional products items. You can also follow us on Twitter@Tote4Pgh and Facebook.com/Tote4pgh

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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