Oh, the food pantry here is frequently the beneficiary of my stupid shopping decisions! But these are normal foods that are within the expiration date and I simply decided after trying one can that I didn't want to use the other can of vegetable broth, or I bought the wrong kind of canned tomatoes, or I picked up two boxes of cereal on sale but my kids' enthusiasm for the cereal petered out halfway through the first box, so I got rid of the second one.
In general, I go the BJs route of food-tithing: I buy an 8 pack of something and give them two of it.
Last summer, I opened up my coat closet and hauled out all the coats that hadn't been worn for a long time. And I wrote to the FIRE project http://fireprojects.org/dulaan.htm
to ask if they can send coats and used children's winter boots to send to Mongolia. I pointed out that the coats were in a couple of cases
1) out of style
2) one had gently worn cuffs and collars.
The FIRE representative wrote back and said
1) in Mongolia, the folks they're servicing don't really know what vintage style the coat is, as long as it's nice and warm
2) I'd be surprised at how much wear someone can get out of a coat with gently worn cuffs.
I put them all in a box and sent them. Oh, and the children's winter boots? They took them all.
Now, would I use them again for my kids? No. Because I have this *thing* about not reusing shoes from one kid to another due to the shape of their feet. However, hand-me-down shoes are a big money saver for a lot of people, and waterproof winter boots for kids living in a place that gets to 40 below ona regular basis is a good thing. These boots were in perfect shape other than their size; in other words, if my kids hadn't outgrown them, they'd be back in them in a heartbeat. (That, AmyRose, is where I draw the line.)
My MIL believes that just because SHE could find some use for the moth-eaten flannel shirt that's missing two buttons and a combination of day-glo orange and purple, then someone else should be able to do so as well. We couldn't convince her otherwise, but then again, she also never made time to drop it off at Goodwill, so someone hasn't had to deal with that yet.