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Help with food drive ideas

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I am in charge of setting up a food drive for our rotary club and I'm looking for creative ideas for it. We meet once a week and I'm trying to avoid just having people bring bags of groceries to each meeting. I'm also looking for ways to ensure that people bring in good food instead of that can of beets they've had in the cabinet for 2 years.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. You could ask people to donate a favorite recipe and all of the non-perishables items to make it. At the end of the drive you could make a small photocopied booklet of all the donated recipes as a thank you to all who donated!

    As for keeping people from bring bags of groceries to each meeting, is there a central location where food can be collected?

    Good luck with the drive!

    1. I used to volunteer at a nonprofit that did food baskets at holidays. One thing we asked for was gift certificates from Safeway etc. It was easy for the donar and easy for us to put baskets for families together. That way they could have perishables at the time they wanted/needed them. We also posted a list of needed food. That seems to keep the old expired date food out. Other drives I have seen asked for canned goods as part of the price of admission to a movie, concert, play.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Janet

        Please make sure the gift certificates are used responsibly. Having worked at a food shelf, the idea of directly giving our clients a gift certicate was unthinkable. Still, it may be the only way for some donors to open their wallets.

        Most non-profits can do much more with cash. They buy in bulk. I don't think it hurts to let your prospective donors know this.

        I sure there are a lot of interesting ideas out on the WWW. Don't forget to google.

        http://www.emergencyfoodshelf.org

      2. You can also ask that if people don't donate food, could they donate any small change they have such as pennies lying around the house. With that money, you could donate cash or purchase much needed items yourself.

        1. How about creating a basket theme. Make one Italian ie: pasta, sauce, parmesan, a garlic head, etc. One French: lentils, mix for hollandaise sauce, leek soup mix, crackers, etc. A breakfast basket: Biscuit/bread mix or panacake mix, dried fruits/nuts, cereal/oatmeal teas/hot chocolate, PB and J etc. Or even a T.V. dinner basket: Kraft deluxe mac and cheese, canned chili, box of chocolate pudding ?, A Friday T.V. party: microwave popcorn, can of crystal light, ice cream cones, Betty Crocker cookie mixes, etc. :)KQ

          1. Our Local Realtors Assoc. did a food drive and each office competed against each other.The team that one got special reconization in our Home Guide for example your team that wins could get a newspaper write up.Anyway they keep a running talley weekly so the teams that were neck and neck kept buying more and more to try to win.Each team kept their stuff at their own office until turn in day.On the day it was due each office recounted and turned their stuff into the food pantry.The director then reported to the Assocation.competion is good ...even in Charity!

            1. Not very creative but a case of infant formula is always appreciated.

              1. Thanks for the help everyone. Because this is a club of mostly men I think some cut-throat competition might be the best way to go. This will make it much easier to get people excited about the idea. After having spoken with some food banks in our area they too were adamant that money did more good than food so I really appreciate the comments to that effect.
                Thanks for all of your comments.

                1. Around Thanlsgiving time I've seen food drives where the list is written of items wanted/needed. you could make a list so people have a direction of what to bring. Always nice to add some toiletries to it as well.