Tips for hosting your own food drive
By hosting a food drive at your office, school, club, or place of worship, you can help the South Kitsap Helpline Food Bank continue to meet the needs of many people in our community.
Here are some tips that may help you plan a successful drive:
1. Tell us about your drive.
We love to list food and fund drives on social media. Some donors visit our site to see where they can bring food donations, so giving us your information may help increase participation. Even if your drive is internal and you aren’t looking for outside donations, telling us about your drive will help us to keep track of when to expect new food items to arrive. In order to keep a steady flow of food, we will stagger food drive dates when possible and coordinate our food purchases with times we know food drives will be few.
2. Motivate and communicate with your audience.
If you’re planning an office drive, get management involved- offer an incentive for bringing items. Have your coworkers “pay” 5 food items to be able to dress down on Friday, or ask management to offer up a half day to the person or department that brings the most items. See if your company would be willing to match cash donations, or match each food item donated with $1. Send emails to everyone in the office and put up flyers in high-traffic areas such as bathrooms, elevators and bulletin boards.
If you’re planning a food drive at a school, have a competition between classes to see who can collect the most items. Have a pep rally to kick off the drive- give us a call and we can send a Food Bank staff member to speak to the kids. Have some art students make unique food drive flyers to hand around the school to remind everyone about the drive. Give updates on who is winning the competition on a daily or weekly basis over the PA system. Have a reward for the winning class- maybe a pizza party or ice cream sundaes.
If you’re having a one-time event– a PTA meeting, a baseball game, a school dance, or a business retreat- spread the word as early as possible, and send a reminder a day or two before the event. If there is only one day when you are collecting food items, it’s important to remind your group a few times so that they remember to bring their items.
3. Promote! Promote! Promote!
If no one knows about your drive, no one will participate. Think of your audience and what modes of communication are available:
- Flyers in office mailboxes
- Posters and flyers in public areas
- Press Releases in a local newspaper
- Announcements in a newsletter
- Announcements on a PA system
- Mention on a website
- Social media – share on your Facebook and Twitter
4. Combine your food drive with a fund drive.
Lots of people forget to bring their items while they are dealing with the everyday stress of life- consider collecting cash or check donations as well. Checks can be made out to “SK Helpline,” and you can mail them to us after the event. If you collect cash donations, we do not recommend mailing cash- bring your cash to the Food Bank along with your food collection, or contact us to work out logistics.
5. Set a goal.
Whether you’re at a school or an office, everyone understands a goal. Some groups have set a numerical goal- collect 5,000 cans of soup, or 1,000 boxes of cereal. Other groups strive to fill an object- an outdoor store might try to fill a canoe with food, or a school might try to fill 5 recycling bins. Something visual always motivates people to participate- if possible, keep your canoe or recycling bins in a public area so everyone can see how the drive is going. If you’re close to your goal and everyone sees it, they might be more willing to help get you that last little bit.
Ready to donate?
Bring your food donations to our office located near the high school at 1012 Mitchell Avenue. Our receiving hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday. If you are holding a food drive, or for those who have difficulty getting to us, there are some other options. Depending on your location and the volume of food you have to donate, we may be able to arrange a pickup.