Successful food drives require enthusiastic leaders. Get people involved early to develop creative ideas, raise awareness, and increase participation levels. Follow these steps to ensure your food drive is a success!

1. Set up a committee of team leaders with representatives from every level of your organization to coordinate the drive. Working as a team is important to keep things efficient and organized.

2. Determine food drive logistics: start and end dates, your method of collection, and whether you will be picking up barrels and dropping off food drive donations yourself, or whether you will need a Food Bank driver to deliver barrels and pick up food donations from your address.

3. Set goals! Setting a goal is a great way to encourage teamwork and provide contributors with a sense of accomplishment. Make goals realistic and easy to understand. For example, you could set a goal to collect 200 lbs of food (1 can of food is approximately 1 lb.).

4. Promote your food drive by making it creative and fun: incorporate competitions and themes, decorate boxes and food barrels, and place them in strategic locations where they are in public view, and use flyers to advertise your event.

5. Use incentives to encourage participation. Start an internal competition between departments, classes, or coworkers, to see who can raise the most donations, and/or reward participants with prizes for their contributions. For example, reward a winning team with a pizza party or a day off for their efforts.

6. Maintain momentum by keeping participants updated about the food drive. Send out emails announcing the food drive, post progress charts, and keep participants informed with regular competition updates.

7. Build awareness! Use this food drive as an opportunity to spread the word about hunger in San Diego: read and distribute the Hunger Fact Sheet 2014 and send out links to our website so that others can learn more.

8. Encourage financial contributions. Participants are welcome to donate money in lieu of food. Remember, for every $1 donated, the Food Bank can purchase enough food for five whole meals!

9. Take the time to thank everyone who participated. Give prizes to top teams, and send thank you notes to all participants. Publicize your success by letting the community know the total amount of food you collected and how many meals your food drive will provide.

10. Bask in the success of your food drive! Your donations will provide food to an individual or family in need.

Thank you for helping us feed the hungry in San Diego.


Food Drives – Frequently Asked Questions

Who can host a food drive?

Anyone can host a food drive! All that is required is leadership and dedication. Individuals, corporations, religious organizations, clubs, schools, and any other organization that can garner support, are welcome to participate.

How do I host a food drive?

Hosting a food drive is easy! First, set up a committee of team leaders and get any necessary approvals from management or administration for your food drive. Then just register your food drive using our online registration form. The registration form will provide us with all of the required information about your food drive so you can get started right away.

Can I host a food drive anytime?

People go hungry every day of the year.  While our biggest food drive event takes place during the holidays, we encourage groups to host food drives throughout the year, to keep our supplies well stocked.  You can start your food drive whenever you would like – just let us know your start and end dates on the registration form.

How long should my food drive last?

Part of organizing a food drive is setting a definite start and end date, but the Food Bank has no restrictions on how long or short your food drive lasts.

What does the food bank provide for my food drive?

The Food Bank will provide you with posters for your food drive, along with our red barrels, which we can drop off at the beginning of your food drive, and pick up at the end. You will just need to indicate the start and end dates for your food drive, and a time of day that is convenient for one of our trucks to come to your address.

Can I use my own boxes for food donations?

Yes, if you would like to use your own boxes, you can use those in lieu of our red barrels.  Our goal is to make your food drive as easy and convenient for you as possible.

Can I drop off food donations at your warehouse?

Yes! If you would rather drop off the food yourself, come to the Food Bank anytime Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Our address is 9850 Distribution Ave., San Diego, CA, 92121.  You can also visit at these times to pick up empty red barrels for your food drive which we encourage to save the Food Bank pick up and collection expenses.

Whether you are picking up and dropping off yourself, or having one of our trucks pick up and drop off, it is important to provide this information on your registration form.

Can I make my food drive a competition?

Yes! We encourage people to set goals and create internal competitions. Fueling people’s competitive spirit generates a lot of participation, and makes the food drive fun. You can set a goal, say, of 200 lbs and see which team reaches that goal first. (1 average can = 1 pound of food.) Reward top teams with prizes or rewards.

Can I create my own theme for the food drive?

Yes, themes are another way to make your food drive more fun and exciting. Get as creative as you’d like; the important thing is to encourage people to donate!

How do I get people involved?

Getting people involved starts with awareness. Once people understand our mission and why the Food Bank exists, they are usually more willing to donate food or monetary donations. Help us build awareness in your community by distributing the hunger facts provided by the Food Bank, linking people to our website, and spreading the word about hunger in San Diego County.

What items should people donate?

The Food Bank always needs a variety of nonperishable goods.  These include canned fruits and vegetables, beans, canned meats, dry pasta, and grains. Please note we cannot accept home-canned goods. We also do not accept alcohol of any kind.

Do you accept household products and non-food items?

To a certain degree, yes. Things such as household cleaners, pet food, baby diapers, and hygienic products we accept, but please keep all non-food items separate from the food items.

Can people donate money instead of food?

Yes. For every dollar donated, the Food Bank can purchase the equivalent of 5 meals for an individual in need.

Will you tell us how much food we donated?

Yes. The Food Bank weighs everything that comes in and out of the warehouse, so once your food drive is over, we will weigh all of your filled barrels and let you know how much food you contributed.

Thank you for helping us feed individuals and families who face hunger in San Diego.