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Can-A-Thon: Here are the foods Salvation Army of Atlanta needs most

Each box The Salvation Army puts together is filled with enough food for a family to make 20 meals.

ATLANTA — 11Alive is kicking off the 39th annual Can-A-Thon food drive to benefit The Salvation Army of metro Atlanta

Whether you’re able to help by raiding your pantry or stopping by the grocery store, every donation is appreciated. 

The Salvation Army is requesting canned or shelf stable food, and there are certain items they're in particular need of.

“We want people to be mindful what they are giving us and what we are putting in a box," Salvation Army Major Luna Smith, who helps coordinate donations out of the Krog Center in Atlanta's Pittsburgh neighborhood said. 

Each box The Salvation Army puts together is filled with enough food for a family to make 20 meals. The Krog Center alone distributed up to 160 boxes a month.

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And there are 7 other Atlanta area locations -- in Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton, and DeKalb -- doing the same. 

When asked what they wish they had more of this holiday season, here's what Smith said.

"Canned meat and spaghetti sauce and spaghetti," Smith said. "Usually snacks is really challenging. It's hard to keep up with crackers, bars and things like that.”

Smith says many of the recipient families have kids so its important to keep them in mind.

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“We have to think about the children," she said. "Mac and cheese, rice, beans. Soup, mashed potatoes, cereals.”

They are also looking for a variety of food that will fit each unique family’s needs.

“We have to be mindful of, are we in the population where it's fully Hispanic? Because there's culture that's heavily involved when it comes to food," Smith explained.

She said it's also important to remember not everyone has a stove or microwave, so ready to eat items are especially appreciated.

RELATED: Can-A-Thon Frequently Asked Questions

“Canned ravioli, stuff like that so they can just popped up and ready to eat without cooking," Smith said. 

Whatever you donate, know it’s going a long way to keep our neighbors’ bellies full.

“I've never seen anybody turn down something that we put in a box," Smith said. "Being part of this is giving somebody life, and we thank them for giving people life and giving people hope. That's what we are shooting for.”

Click here for a list of donation drop off locations. 

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