We are gearing up for the holiday season; that time of the year when we join our loved ones in celebration and thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the less fortunate may not have the privilege of celebrating like most of us. They may hardly have enough food, or any at all, to share with their loved ones during the holidays. Their only hope may be well-wishers, whose help is not certain.
Organizing a community food drive is a good way of reaching out to not just one but several of these people and give them a chance to enjoy a full meal during the holidays. Below is a step by step guide on how to organize a successful food drive campaign in your community and help the less fortunate experience some merry.
Identify a Charity Partner
Before you start mobilizing your community members to contribute foodstuffs, you need to identify the organization that will collect your donations - either a charity organization, a local food bank or a local church involved in charity.
Alternatively, you can choose to deliver the food directly to the needy - children's homes, senior citizen centers, homeless shelters, etc.
Once you identify your beneficiaries, find out their special food needs. This is especially important if you're dealing with a food bank, or say, a children's home with infants. You'll need to detail the specifics to your community members so they may donate the needed foodstuffs.
Set a Timeline for Your Drive
Determine the duration of the donation. Since you'll be collecting food to distribute during the holidays, the end date should leave enough time for food distribution. Likewise, set your end date in a way that will allow an extra day or two for late submissions. This will ensure you don't close anyone off before they drop their donations.
Assuming you have already formed the food drive committee, assign responsibilities among the members. The best way is to have people volunteer for different roles. For instance, you'll need people to publicize the drive, monitor collection centers, audit and record the foodstuffs donated, and to deliver the food to the beneficiaries. Having the roles clearly spelled out and knowing who is responsible for what is crucial for a smooth drive.
Set-Up Collection Points
Designate strategic drop-off points within the community. You can either decide on one central point or set-up as many centers as are practicable, depending on the size of your community. However, ensure the drop-off points are conveniently located as this is key to receiving more food items.
Publicize the Drive
Get the word out through all means possible. You can print flyers and posters and post them on the community bulletin boards. Also, advertise through the community newsletter and any existing social media groups. But make sure you consult your community manager for advice on the best way to go about creating and staging the drive.
However, since you're collecting food to be distributed at a later date, indicate the specific food items you're collecting - canned foods, infant foods, staples like flour, oil, etc. so they don't deliver perishables.
Monitor Donations and Send Reminders
As you collect the foodstuffs, ensure you audit them before packaging for delivery to ascertain they're safe. Make it a regular exercise throughout the donation period to avoid being overwhelmed at the last minute. Likewise, keep sending reminders to community members. Include a report of your progress, if possible, to motivate those who are yet to donate.
Wrap Up the Drive and Send a Thank You Message to the Participants
Once the donation period ends, ensure all the food items have been audited for safety, then make the delivery to the beneficiaries. Lastly, compile the list of donations and send the report alongside a thank you message to the donors and volunteers.
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