Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Pantry.
Economically developed nations like the United States enjoy high levels of prosperity, yet there are pockets of hunger affecting millions of families in every region of the country. Some states experience record high percentages of students who experience hunger on a regular basis. To address this problem your school may decide to coordinate a canned food drive with proceeds going to a local food bank or other nonprofit organization that addresses hunger issues.
The drive can be set up to be a competitive event between classes or among members of the student council or school faculty. Contacting media outlets to cover these efforts may also allow community members to take part. Canned food drives have a long and proud history of providing much-needed food support to families in need. This is a great event to teach the importance of serving the community and learning about social issues in your neighborhoods.
How to organize a canned food drive:
1. Select an organization to support.
There are likely several organization in your community who could greatly utilize canned goods. Consider supporting food pantries in schools, churches and emergency shelters. You may also support your area food bank, which supplies needed food items to area non-profits. Check out FeedingAmerica.org to locate a food bank in your community.
2. Choose a theme and set a deadline.
Most food drives occur before holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, you may consider holding your event in the late summer or late spring when food banks are most in need. Choose a theme that captures the spirit of the season or rallies your school to this cause. Set a deadline when canned food items must be donated.
3. Select a drop-off location.
This may be as simple as designating a centrally-located table or room in your facility for donations to be stored. If multiple classrooms or departments are participating they may choose to have their own collection area. If your event is large enough you may consider making the non-profit organization itself the drop-off location. This would require speaking to the organization ahead of time to determine if this is acceptable and working out the logistics.
4. Promote your event.
Create fliers promoting your event and send them home with students and faculty. Consider creating a Facebook event page or school website for sharing event details, and posting photos.
5. Hold an assembly.
One optional activity would be to hold a public assembly where food items can be gathered together in one place and the collective body can see how much was donated. Representatives from recipient agencies (i.e. food bank or area non-profits) may be present to share about the work of their organization and how the donations will be utilized.
6. Deliver the items.
Delegate groups of individuals to load and transport items for delivery to the recipient organization. This will not be required if donors delivered items directly to the organization. If delivery is required, contact the organization in advance to determine the best way to deliver the canned food items.