The holiday season is a time to count your blessings -- and also to reach out to those less fortunate than you. One of the best ways to do this is by donating items to your local food bank. However, a recent survey of food bank volunteers revealed there are some very helpful things that they don't get nearly enough of.

So if you want to make someone's Christmas a little brighter, please considering picking up some of these things while shopping, and drop them off at your local food bank.

1. Spices

Much of the food donated to food banks comes in the form of canned goods, rice and other long-lasting but somewhat bland items. So naturally, adding flavor via spices is quite helpful. Oregeno, basil, allspice, mixed Italian seasoning, cumin, chili powder, salts and peppers all go a long way to making everything taste better.

2. Feminine Products

Buying bulk quantities of pads, tampons and panty liners for donation is a wonderful way to help food-bank patrons get important help they may be embarrassed to ask for.

3. Canned Meats and Jerky

Some of the volunteers reported that giving their patrons enough protein can sometimes be challenging.

4. Baby Food and Supplies

Do we even have to say anything else here? Baby food, diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, soaps and shampoos are always wonderful things to donate.

5. Toiletries

As one volunteer explains, "The ladies who ran [the local food bank] told me that they wished they received more toilet paper and basic toiletries like toothpaste. She said that many of the people who used the food pantry were also on Food Stamp programs, and those programs [in some areas] do not allow for people to buy toilet paper or any non-food items."

6. Soup Packets

Sometimes it's hard to make full meals out of the items picked up out of a food bank. Hearty soups solve that problem quite handily.

7. Can Openers / Dish Soap

It's very difficult to open canned goods without a can opener. Luckily, good ones can be had for relatively little money. Dish soap and other basic cleaning supplies are also in demand.

8. Chocolate

Of course, it's not essential. But wouldn't you like to have the tiny luxury of a little dessert along with your meal once in a while?

9. Socks

Proper foot care is more important than many people realize, and often very difficult for homeless people. A clean pair of socks can really help make somebody's day better.

10. Cash

It's obvious, but it's so important it's worth restating: Cash donations are very helpful to local food banks because it lets them buy the exact items they are short on at any given time.