Monday, July 29, 2013

DIY Neighbourhood Food Drive

My family and I have organized a food drive on our street for the last four years.  The first two were held over Thanksgiving weekend, when people were feeling thankful and generous.  Last summer, we decided to move it to July, when we knew kids and families would be more in need while the schools (and their breakfast/food programs) were closed for the summer.  It’s an easy way to make a huge impact in your community, a nice way to stay in touch with your neighbours and, in our case, a natural way to talk about community needs with the kids and discuss ways to make a difference as a family.

Here’s how you can organize a food drive in your neighbourhood:
1.       Pick a couple days to stay home so your neighbours can drop food donations off at your house and decide which food bank you would like the donations to go to.

2.       Let your neighbours know!  We printed a half-page flyer for each house on our street with all the details and my husband and daughter dropped them in each mailbox on one very hot morning a week before the drive.  The flyer also reminded them of the 545 pounds of food and $90 we raised over our two-day drive last summer and thanked them for their generosity.
3.       Collect the donations from your neighbours over your scheduled days and then deliver the food to your chosen food bank.   
4.       Thank your neighbours!  Most food banks have the capability to weigh the total donation and will usually send a thank you card with the weight noted.  We photocopy the card and deliver one to each house on the street so they can see the impact of their generosity.

It really is that easy.  We weren’t sure how this year’s drive would do, since less than a week before our chosen dates, most houses on our street lost their power for 24-hours due to a crazy storm and our neighbours likely had to restock their own fridges as a result.  We were pleasantly surprised when the scale at the food bank read 482.5 pounds and we handed over $140 in cash donations.  Another amazing year for the food drive and further proof that people really do want to help, sometimes all you have to do is ask.

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