Food drives are a great way to involve your friends and family in the fight to end hunger. There are two main ways to host a food drive: collecting canned goods and food donations in-person or collecting funds on behalf of a food charity.
What is a food drive?
Food drives help food charities keep their shelves stocked. They also help raise awareness about hunger in your community and encourage others to help. Hunger affects every community, but many people don’t realize it.
Individuals, schools, community organizations, and businesses can host food drives on behalf of their local food banks.
What is a virtual food drive?
Instead of collecting food, a virtual food drive allows you to collect funds online for your local food bank or the Feeding America network. Many food banks prefer virtual food drives over traditional food drives.
Feeding America and food banks can often purchase food much lower than what you would pay at a grocery store. Also, sorting and inspecting food items can take time and resources, so a virtual food drive helps food banks put those resources to other uses.
How to organize a food drive
- Contact your local food bank: Every food bank organizes its food drives differently. Be sure to ask for the following information:
- How do you register?
- Do they prefer virtual food drives or traditional food drives?
- Are there food donation guidelines?
- Do you drop off food donations or do they pick them up?
- Collect donations for two weeks: Food drives can last however long you’d like, but most food banks recommend running your drive for at least two weeks.
- Focus on the most wanted items: If you host a virtual food drive, this will be cash. If you host a canned food drive, your partner food bank or food pantry should provide you with a list of the most needed items.
- Drop-off your donations: Some food banks will pick up donations directly. However, many food banks cannot pick up your food drive donations and will ask you to deliver them to their warehouse.