How to host a holiday food drive
By Emily Gallion, Grant & Metrics Manager/Advocacy Manager, and Caitlyn McIntosh, Intake/Volunteer Support
The holiday season is in full swing, which means things are getting busier here at our warehouse. We see an overall increase in volunteer hours, donations, and corporate campaigns. One of the most popular ways people choose to give back is by hosting a food drive.
While some food banks have moved away from accepting food drive donations during COVID, our food drive program is back in full swing. Whether you’re gathering items at home, work, or school, food drives are a great way to add a personal touch to your holiday giving by adding your favorite food items.
We’ve created a short how-to guide to help you get started!
What items can I donate?
This time of year, lists of items that you should or shouldn’t donate circulate on social media. Don’t overthink it! We encourage people to follow a simple guideline: What would your family eat?
The families we serve also enjoy the same sorts of foods you do, including easy-to-prepare meals, snacks, and the occasional sweet treat. Remember that our goal is not to provide as much food at as low cost as possible, but to serve our neighbors with the food they need for a healthy, active lifestyle.
We welcome non-perishable food donations of all kinds. Some popular items are canned meat and fish, hearty soups, rice, beans, and canned fruits and veggies. We are unable to accept perishable foods through food drives.
We can also accept non-food items, such as toiletries and pet food. In keeping with food safety guidelines, please store these items separately from all food.
Consider a virtual food drive!
The easiest way to maximize your impact is through a monetary contribution. Because of our ability to purchase in bulk, our partnerships with local retail donors, and our hard-working food procurement team, we were able to distribute five meals for every $1 donated last year.
To put that in perspective, a 24-pack of ramen at a local grocer costs around $5. On average, a $5 contribution provides 25 meals — and one-third of the food we distributed last year was fresh produce. If you yourself are working with a tight budget this holiday season, consider donating to us, and we’ll do the shopping!
That said, we do value the food we receive through food drives tremendously. This food is an important supplement to our other food procurement streams. Physical food drives are also important to raise awareness around the issue of food insecurity during the holidays.
Visit this page to learn more about organizing a fund drive.
Get started today!
Scheduling a food drive is simple: Before you start, contact Jamie Robinson at (937) 461-0265 x14 or email@example.com to discuss the details of your drive. Then, fill out this participation form on our website. Please allow 48 hours before you pick up or drop off your food drive barrel(s).
At the end of the drive your collection of food may be dropped off at The Foodbank, Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. through 12:00 pm and 1:00 p.m. through 3:30 p.m. Please call to let us know when you are coming. Lunch appointments for drop off can be arranged in advance.
Questions? Call Jamie Robinson at (937) 461-0265 ext. 14.
Consider these ideas to make your food drive more impactful:
- Offer materials, such as this factsheet from Feeding America, about food insecurity alongside donation barrels.
- Set up friendly competitions between departments to encourage giving
- Come up with a theme! Ex: allow casual wear for people who donate, hold a potluck lunch with a canned good as cost of admission, etc.
- Ask your organization to match donations with cash to incentivize giving
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