Host a virtual food drive at your holiday gathering

Carmen and her 7-year-old son Cameron and 10-year-old daughter Laila receive a Thanksgiving turkey and sides from a holiday food distribution at the children's school in Philadelphia.
October 20, 2020
by Ash Slupski

The holidays will look different for many of us this year. As travel and indoor meals with extended family present an increased risk, it may be time to introduce some new traditions to make the holidays meaningful.

Whether you’re hosting your Friendsgiving on Zoom or Christmas dinner safely in-person, hosting a virtual food drive fundraiser is a great way to build a connection with loved ones. 

What is a virtual food drive? 

A virtual food drive is a fundraiser that happens 100% online so you don’t need to lug cans to a collection box.  You simply set up an online fundraising page with your local food bank or with Feeding America and ask friends and family to contribute. Donations are completed in minutes and every donor receives a receipt. 

These fundraisers help the Feeding America network of food banks save resources they would spend collecting, sorting, and storing food from traditional food drives and instead put funds into better serving their communities.  Plus, during COVID many food banks may not be accepting food donations from the community due to safety concerns. 

Here are some easy ways to add an online fundraiser into your holiday plans:

1. Include your fundraiser in your invitation

When you let your guests know the time and place of your get together (my family is dedicated to text invites), be sure to include a link to your fundraising page. This is a simple way to let everyone know that you're doing something really special this year. Even if your guests can’t join, it allows them to give back.

Not sure what to say about your fundraiser? Once you sign up for your fundraiser with Feeding America or with your local food bank, you’ll receive a toolkit full of advice and even sample emails and social posts.  


2. Get your friends and family into the giving mood with a fun activity

Here’s your opportunity to get creative to entice your guests to give. Think about what your guests usually enjoy doing when you get together and put a fundraising spin on it:

  • Auction of your talents – like all the bread you’ve been making or teaching your friends how to make your Aunt’s secret recipe.
  • Bribe your guests with leftovers by asking for a small donation before letting them fill up to-go containers.
  • Host bingo, trivia, or karaoke where a donation is the cost of entry. It may be worth it to listen to those who can’t carry a tune. 
  • Choose a secret word and whenever someone says the secret word ask them to donate. This is also a great way to avoid topics that may ruin the mood.


3. Say thanks and shout out your top contributors

When the meal is all over, and hopefully someone helped with the dishes, be sure to thank your guests. This is a great moment to spotlight those who generously contributed to your fundraiser, share the amount you raised, and remind your guests that there is still time to give.


Need more help in getting started? Your food bank and our Team Feed staff are here for you. You can check out our top Team Feed fundraisers for even more inspiration.

Even if you're not getting together in person or online, you can still make a difference for families facing hunger by starting a fundraiser for Feeding America or your local food bank. There are also many other ways you can give back to food banks during this holiday season.