Tips for Hosting a Holiday Food Drive

Many organizations will plan events to help those in need during the holidays. One specific event that sees a lot of traffic this time of year is food drives. Hosting a food drive can be very beneficial during the holidays because many individuals simply cannot provide enough food to feed their families. If your organization is thinking about hosting a food drive this year, here are a few steps to get you started.

  1. Select the group or organization you would like to donate to and contact them to determine their needs. Feeding America provides a list of food banks in your area.
  2. Determine the process of your food drive. Will you have a single site where people can drop off food during certain hours of the day, or will you have drop boxes at multiple locations to allow people to drop food off on their own schedule?
  3. Gather volunteers to assist with collecting and transporting the donations to the food bank. The more, the better!
  4. Promote your event in various ways to gain maximum participation. Hand out fliers, write a small blub in your organization’s newsletter or use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to get the word out.
  5. Determine what foods you can and cannot accept. Every food bank has its own standards, so be sure to collect those once you’ve selected who you will give the donations to. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

Acceptable Foods:

  • Non-perishable items
  • Canned foods with pop-top lids
  • Meals in a can (soups, stew, chili)
  • Tuna or canned chicken
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned fruit
  • Low-sodium canned vegetables
  • Beans
  • Olive or canola oil
  • Spices
  • Low-sugar whole grain cereals
  • Rice
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Healthy snacks (granola bars, nuts, dried fruit)
  • Holiday foods (yams, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce)

Non-Acceptable Foods:

  • Perishable items
  • Foods packaged in glass containers
  • Homemade items
  • Bulk items
  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Items that have been opened or used

If you are looking to provide food for those in need this season but cannot host a food drive, there are still many ways to help. Visit Create the Good  or Feeding America to find a list of volunteer opportunities near you. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, a simple donation can go a long way. Have members of your organization collect money and donate it to one of your local food banks. A $500 donation can help to provide 5,500 meals!

One in eight people struggle with hunger in the United States. Whether it’s hosting a food drive, volunteering at your local food bank or donating money, anything will help to provide meals for those who are in need this holiday season.

Sources: Feeding America | Buzzfeed | SHFB

Filed under Nonprofit Religious Organizations
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