Food Drive

Anyone can play a role in addressing the problem of hunger in our community. Consider holding a Food Drive.

Planning your Food Drive

  • Share your interest in holding a food drive with a teacher or administrator at your school, your scout master, club president, clergy person, family or local business.  Do find out first, if there are any restrictions for holding the food drive, and what support you may be able to get.
  • Next, contact our Executive Director, Enrique Zuanetto, and ask if there is a list of items that we need most.
  • Pick the location and dates of the Food Drive
  • Set a goal for your Food Drive.  How many cans, bags, and pounds of food do you want to collect?
  • Select a place where the Food Drive will be conducted. Where will donations be dropped off?  Where will the food be kept?
  • Provide collection boxes that are clearly marked for the food collected.
  • After the drive, have volunteers deliver the food to The Soup Kitchen.  Call in advance and let us know when you will be delivering the food.

Conducting the Food Drive

We encourage you to get creative in conducting your Food Drive and offer the following ideas to stimulate your thoughts:

  • If you are holding a school event, ask students to bring a can of food for a discount on their admission ticket.
  • Make posters about the Food Drive and put them in locations where people can see them.
  • Pass out flyers with a list of nonperishable foods and other items people should donate.
  • Let everyone know.  Get the word out through Face Book, school morning announcements, newsletters, emails, etc.
  • Create a contest. How many pounds of food can the school or organization gather?  Create a poster or a sign in the shape of a can to make it visual.   Color in the can to mark your progress in meeting your goal.
  • Coordinate your food drive with the Stamp out Hunger campaign organized each year by the US Postal Service and the National Association of Letter Carriers.  The campaign, online at, encourages Americans to leave food donations by their mailboxes for pick up by mail carriers.
  • Ask your local grocery store if you can hold a food drive outside their store.  Pass out food drive shopping lists to customers as they enter the store and let them know you will be there to accept their donations on the way out.  Make sure you have signs that clearly denote who you are and what the food drive is for.
  • Write a press release about the Food Drive and contact your local weekly or community newspaper. Ask them to help promote the food drive or to come take a picture of the donations as they are delivered to the Soup Kitchen.

Remember, we need food all year round. So start your Food Drive anytime.  Those in need will truly appreciate it!

Ideas for Making Your Food Drive a Success:

Following are a few creative ideas to make your food drive a success:

  • Competitions
    Create competitions between classrooms, departments, groups or floors to see who will collect the most donations. Offer a special prize for the winning donation.
  • Items of the Day
    Use the list of preferred food items and designate some to be “items of the day” for people to donate.
  • Donation Bags
    Consider giving participants plastic or paper bags to take home and return with food.  Include a preferred food items list in the bags or place them in mailboxes as a reminder of the items needed.
  • Special Events
    Coordinate your Food Drive with a special event.  Consider using four or more cans of food as a full or reduced admission.
  • Five Pound Party
    Ask each member of your group to bring 5 pounds of non-perishable food.  A prize can be awarded for the person who has the most items in their 5 pound limit.  Don’t forget to donate all the food collected!
  • Five Dollar Party
    Ask each member of your group to spend $5 on non-perishable food items.  Consider giving prizes for: the largest number of food items, the biggest box filled with food.  And again, donate all you collect in the name of your organization!
  • Christmas in July
    Many organizations have food drives in the months of November and December.  Since the need for food is year long, consider having an Easter Food Drive, a Christmas in July Food Drive or a Back to School Food Drive.
  • Neighborhood Drive
    Consider distributing The Soup Kitchen brochures to your neighbors with a personal note from you.  Explain that you support our efforts to feed the hungry and that you will drop by on a certain day to pick up any items they would like to donate.  Transport the items to the Soup Kitchen after collecting them.  Ask your neighbors if they would like you to come by once a month.  Or, instead of collecting food, you can have a drive to collect funds for the Soup Kitchen.
  • Food Item for the Month
    Invite your group to bring a certain items needed by The Soup Kitchen to each meeting, or for an entire month.  Over the year, you can provide a substantial amount of food donations!  Ideas for food items can be: peanut butter, jelly, cereal, pasta, canned meat/fish, sauces, vegetable soup, crackers, etc.

More Ideas!

  • Hold a canned ham drive
  • Pick apples, avocados, mangoes or other seasonal fruit and donate to The Soup Kitchen
  • Ask your birthday party guests to bring canned food items instead of or along with their gifts
  • Grow and donate extra vegetables to The Soup Kitchen
  • At your next family gathering or workplace holiday party, consider asking everyone to bring cans of food instead of gifts
  • Consider donating unopened, unused food remaining from parties, barbeques, etc.
  • Clip Sunday coupons, buy what’s on sale and donate those items to The Soup Kitchen
  • Organize a coupon swap and buy what’s on sale for The Soup Kitchen

Themed ideas for Food Drives

  • TGIF – Take Groceries in on Friday
  • Meat the Need – canned meat day/drive
  • Make Every Bean Count – canned or dried beans drive
  • Fill ‘er Up – Fill a bus, truck, shopping cart or some other large container with food donations
  • Go Fishing – Fill a children’s wading pool with cans of tuna/other fish
  • Plant a Garden – with canned vegetables
  • Mountain of Macaroni – can be created when you ask members of your group to make a donation.  Put the ‘mountain’ in a visible place to create awareness.
  • Kids Packs Day – ask everyone to help create these packs by donating: macaroni & cheese, alphabet soup, pudding/fruit packs, sugar free applesauce, cereal bars, cookies, crackers, juice, etc.
  • Breakfast for Dinner – collect breakfast food items such as cereal, pancake mix, syrup, oatmeal, grits, etc.
  • Coffee Break Time – collect coffee, tea, hot chocolate, powdered creamer, cookies, crackers
  • Lunch and Dinner – collect boxed meals, canned tuna/chicken, instant mashed potatoes, pasta meals, beef stew, chili, soups, rice, beans, etc.