On collecting some food for a local soup kitchen and food pantry, I was surprised to find out that things the pantry really needed included spices and seasonings: dill, Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, thyme, and so on.
Of course it makes sense: herbs and spices are expensive, and a lot of those great pantry staples--cans of protein foods (beans and canned chicken, turkey, hams, soups, and stews)--certainly could use a little perking up. Just by asking a local store, I got three cases of spices donated to the food drive. (I don't say that to pat my own back but to inspire donations.)
In the tristate area--and everywhere else, for that matter--people really rely on the pantries because so much of their salaries go toward rent.
This time of year and in summer the pantries start running low, so when I drop off stuff from time to time, I'm going to include some seasonings. The other thing I'll do is to make some sandwiches when I deliver the canned goods. Sometimes mid-morning or mid-afternoon, people are there already, having missed breakfast or lunch at the soup kitchen. And they're hungry.