An annual dilemma for the volunteers who prepare Christmas hampers in Princeton is this: what do you do with food that has been donated, but can’t be distributed because it is past its expiry date?
This year that problem was solved when several ranchers came forward and said they could use the non-perishables to feed livestock and other animals.
Christmas hamper volunteer Doug Pateman said just because food is expired doesn’t mean it’s not fit for consumption.
However laws prohibited the Princeton Crisis Assistance Society from giving those boxes and cans to clients.
Ranchers, as it turns out, are less picky.
“Did you know barn cats really like cream of mushroom soup?” he asked.
While a drive organized by emergency services two weeks ago saw the donation of thousands of pounds of food from Princeton residents, there were some offerings that couldn’t be used for the hamper campaign.
“People just don’t realize what they are giving is past the date,” said Pateman. “They probably don’t think to even look.”
Pateman noted that cereal and noodles - when cooked - from macaroni and cheese can be used as filler for livestock.
At least two local farmers came forward to claim the spoils.
“It’s good that it’s not going to waste,” said Pateman.
To report a typo, email: