It's senior day at our local food shelf so there were some things I was saving up for them, like the Depends and Poise. I'm finding it more effective to bring multiples of something than a few things of each from my stockpile.
Each family that shops at the food shelf gets to choose 1-4 or more of each item category, depending on their family size. If I donate 1-2 items of each category in my stockpile, only the first few families may benefit, and the rest chooses from the normal, mostly generic brands. Which is not a bad thing at all, it'swhat the food shelf is for. But couponers usually donate brand name items because the generics are more expensive. It's not surprising that brand name items get chosen first.
There's also a little bit of a "rush" when the food shelf opens because many shoppers know that the best items are picked first. Which means that people who couldn't coordinate their schedules to come early and wait in line, often don't get the "choicer" items. And sometimes there's only a few items in a category so the first few through will get them, the rest will not (coffee, tea, jell-o, etc.).
So today I dropped off 20 bottles of shampoo and about 18 containers of dental floss. This means that at least 20 families will be able to get brand name shampoo (it's not always in stock). It's just a different way to think about how to donate. One way is not any better than the other because it all goes to help to help our neighbors.