The following are common questions we hear from food bank directors and workers, along with useful ideas we’ve gathered along the way.
If you have a question or idea to contribute to this blueprint, we would love to hear from you. Please submit the details here.
How can we increase contributions?
- Try holding a drive right at the supermarket
- Notify visitors to your site of your current needs with a popup alert
- Boost donations after the holiday season with a “double your impact” campaign
- During food drives, make it easy for people to give cash as well
- Get free publicity from a local student marketing club
How can we reach more people?
- Rural Areas: Open a mobile food pantry and make routine stops in neighboring towns
- College Students: Reach college students by facilitating an on-campus food pantry
- Smaller Towns: Reach smaller communities by inviting churches to open their own small food pantries
- Elderly: Reach the elderly by distributing groceries with Meals on Wheels deliveries
- Children: Send kids home from school with backpacks full of groceries
- Limited Mobility: Try giving or selling produce at transit centers
- Inspire locals to distribute food on their own
How can we source more volunteers?
- Hold an annual volunteer day before the holiday rush
- Have the local sports team recruit some help
- Call on the National Guard
- Recruit student clubs and associations
How can we source healthier food?
- Take over abandoned farmland and grow your own produce
- Partner with a community garden – ask for a portion of their produce
- Pick produce from trees in the community
- Ask residents to donate their citrus and other fruit
- Trade surplus produce with other food banks
- Add a cash component to each food drive – allowing you to purchase perishable goods
- Take advantage of cheaper, “ugly produce”
How can we cut costs
How can we help people to improve their food situation long-term?
- Teach them to grow a kitchen garden
- Teach nutrition classes
- Brown bag lunches improve employment conditions for the homeless
- Foster the creation of community gardens
- Convince cities to plant fruit trees in public areas
How can we tackle the underlying poverty that causes food insecurity?
- Provide job skills training in the culinary arts
- Don’t just give food – have clients meet with a social worker
Are there other non food-related needs we can also meet?
- Try distributing school supplies to local teachers
- Free tax preparation contributes directly to food security
- Distribute baby supplies to new mothers