How to run a food bank

Food drives are a great way to make a difference in ending hunger and giving back to your community. Anyone can run a food drive, at any time of year, and no amount is too small. Thank you for your interest in running a food drive for the Cambridge Food Bank! Whether you are an individual, group, business, or organization, this guide will help you run a successful food drive. If you have any questions we are always here to help! 

Step One: Organize!

Consider putting a group together who can help and support you! Neighbourhoods, schools, offices, teams, civic groups, and communities of worship are just some of the many organizations we work with to run food drives. This is a great opportunity to involve your community! Choose the location and duration of your food drive. Food drives can last a few days to a few weeks, so make sure you set a start and end date, or if this is a one-day event, a start and end time. Make sure that you will be able to store your collected food somewhere until you can deliver it or arrange for a pick-up. To donate fresh food, please organize drop-off right away, or plan to make multiple deliveries to make sure that food arrives fresh.

Step Two: Get Creative!

Think about what kind of food drive you want to hold! Is it a friendly competition between departments at your business? Is it collecting one specific item from our most needed list? Successful food drives often have a theme that makes them unique. Potential themes include filling backpacks with canned goods or school supplies for back to school, holiday themed drives like Halloween, Christmas or Easter, or even donation matching from your CEO or executive team. Another great way to raise donations is to host an event and instead of charging admission, ask attendees to bring canned goods or donations in lieu of admission. 

Monetary donations are also welcome and can be raised by asking your “crowd” to sponsor you in different ways.  Maybe you’re a runner, and you plan to run ten miles for hunger. Ask your “crowd” to sponsor you by the mile, and feed thousands of people with just one run. Or if you are less athletic, get people to sponsor you for a thirty hour fasting challenge. Challenges are only limited by your imagination!

Step Three: Marketing!

Make sure you tell everyone you know about your food drive! Make flyers and hand them out.  Create posters and social media messages to share with your friends! Send emails to your friends, family and colleagues letting them know what’s going on. Share content from the food bank or tag the food bank in your posts and we’ll help you get the word out. Create a gofundme, or fundraiser on social media to get funds to donate to the food bank. 

Step Four: Make Your Donation!

Drop off your donation to us at 54 Ainslie St. South, Cambridge or call us to arrange for a pick-up of larger donations: 519-622-6550, x 202. Lastly, send us your pictures! We love to post about our donors and community supporters. If you are on social media, be sure to tag us and use our hashtag #FeedingCommunity!

592,308 adults and children accessed a food bank in Ontario between April 1st, 2020, to March 31st, 2021 – an increase of 10 percent over the last year and the largest single-year increase since 2009. In the first 3 months of the pandemic, the number of people who accessed a food bank for the first time in Ontario increased by 26%. With the rising costs of food and housing, these numbers are projected to increase throughout 2022. Having a Food Drive will not solve the problems of food insecurity in our communities, but it is a start. For more information about how to help out, donate and more please send us an email at info@cambridgefoodbank.org

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