Planning A Food Drive

The main goal of the Hunger Center is education. We believe it is very important for all those involved in the food drive process to be informed about the problem of hunger in their community, as well as the services provided by the location receiving the donations. In addition to food drive volunteers, it is also important that everyone donating items be given the opportunity to learn about hunger and how their donations will be used. We recommend that the organization running the drive compile a ”fact sheet” which includes information on hunger, along with some background information on both the hosting and receiving organizations. We would be happy to assist on all aspects of this process. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any further questions or concerns.

1. Plan Ahead:

  • Select a recipient (s) to receive your donations – this can be your local food bank and/or anti-hunger agency that provides food or meals to the needy.
  • Contact the organization – they may be able to supply barrels and/or plastic/paper bags for food collections. Also, they can let you know what items are most needed at the time of your food drive.
  • Determine how many collection barrels and/or bags you will need – grocery stores are often willing to donate bags for the collection.
  • Create posters and flyers to generate awareness of hunger issues and food drives.
  • Donation envelopes – for those wishing to make a monetary donation.
  • Select a committee to organize the food drive and delegate responsibilities.

2. Establish Basics:

  • Create a theme! Make it FUN! Themes often help generate excitement around a food drive and aid in the creation of promotional materials.
  • Set beginning and end dates for the drive.
  • Determine collection sites and who will deliver items to your recipient (s) at the end of the drive.
  • Set a goal for how much food and/or money to collect (i.e. one million pennies, total weight of students = pounds of food to collection, certain number of bags of groceries).
  • Communicate above information to all participants.

3. Promote The Food Drive:

  • Create promotional materials that will help build awareness about hunger issues, your food drive, and encourage maximum participation.
  • Hold contests for designing posters and flyers. Tap into the creativity available in your school.
  • Include food drive information in take-home notices, school newsletters and calendars.
  • Notify your local community centers, churches, libraries, and the media about your event.
  • Distribute flyers and posters around your community.
  • Use slogans that relate to your school and the food drive.
  • Mark your progress with a thermometer or tally board-especially if the drive is longer than one day.
  • Afterwards, announce the results of your collection efforts to your community.

4. Educate The Participants:

  • Is it important that both donors and the organization’s members are educated about hunger problems and hosting a drive.
  • To increase the awareness of hunger issues try one of these ideas:
    • Incorporate ideas from Hunger 101 curricula (see curriculum ideas).
    • Arrange for a food bank representative to come to your school, take a field trip to their site, or schedule a volunteer day at a local anti-hunger agency.
    • Take the on-line Hunger 101 tutorial (see curriculum ideas).

5. Show Your Appreciation:

  • Recognize committee members, participants, sponsors and volunteers for their hard work. Host a pizza party or ice cream social in their honor! Have students create hand-made thank you notes.
  • Check-in with the receiving organization(s) after the delivery of the donations. It is important to keep the lines of communication open even after the food drive has ended.

Food Bank Theme Ideas

  • Oxfam Hunger Banquet- host an Oxfam hunger banquet that dramatizes the inequitable distribution of food. For a Hunger Banquet Kit, go to
  • Empty Bowl Project- students make ceramic bowls for a fund raising meal. How-to’s can be found at
  • Cans for Coins, Coins for Children-collect pocket change and donate money directly to your anti-hunger agency.
  • Coin and Can Day- drop off a can and a coin.
  • Coin Wars- plan a penny war between classrooms. Each class collects change in a container. Students throw dollar bills into the container of a another classroom in order to “cancel out” that class’ change. In other words, change in the container equals “positive” points, while bills equal “negative” points. The team with the most positive points at the end of the war wins!
  • Canned Immunity Day-allow students to receive immunity for being late, forgetting homework, or being out of uniform if they bring in canned goods.
  • Food Day-designate days of the week for specific foods, i.e. Macaroni Monday, Tuna Tuesday, Wheaties Wednesday, Turkey Thursday, Fruity Friday.
  • Special Dress Day- students “pay” with food to dress a special way.
  • Let’s SAC Hunger or TGIF (Take Groceries  In Friday)-provide brown bags for students to take home and fill with food or encourage them to bring a brown bag lunch and donate the money they would have spent on a school lunch.
  • Bag Hunger Auction-students collect auction items from home, “sell” admission tickets (cost of ticket = food item), hold the auction, and then the proceeds benefit local anti-hunger organizations.
  • Challenges/Competitons-organize a contest between classrooms or grade levels with lots of categories:
    • largest individual donation
    • most protein
    • most unusual food
    • most original design for a food barrel
    • raise our weight in food
  • MEAT the Need-canned meat drive.
  • Make Every BEAN COUNT- canned or dried beans drive.
  • Read to Feed-for every book a student reads, a can of food is donated.
  • Food Drive Event- have an event, party, or school production as part of the drive and charge “food admission”-the admission price=a certain number of food items.
  • Fruity Fines-for one day or several, the school library allows students to “pay fines” with canned fruit or other food items.
  • Let the Stars Come Out-use a local celebrity to help increase publicity and contributions.
  • Fill ‘er Up, Stuff-a-Bus, Fill-a-Truck, Fill A Shopping Cart-fill the Principal’s office, gymnasium, truck, bus, or other designated area with food. Outline a map of your state on your gymnasium floor, athletic field, or school grounds and fill in area with food.
  • Wash Away Hunger-a car wash where the price of wash is a food item.
  • Hunger Walk, Run, Bike, or Dance-a-thon-have sponsors pledge food instead of money.

Specialty Boxes or Bags

  • Baby Boxes: may contain formula, diapers, baby cereal, fruit juice, and baby food.
  • BREAD (Bridges Reaching Elderly And Disabled) Boxes: could contain peanut butter, juice, pasta beans, cereal, canned food like tuna, vegetables, fruits and sauces, dry baking mixes, fruit cup packs, and pudding packs.
  • Bags of Hope: may contain breakfast for a single mother and child, or lunch for 2 Chinese-American senior citizens, or dinner for a Latino family.
  • Special Diets: such low-sodium or diabetic.
  • Women: include iron rich and high-calcium foods.
  • Kid Packs: may contain macaroni and cheese, alphabet soup, chicken noodle, instant oatmeal, peanut butter, pudding packs, applesauce, cereal grain bars, juice boxes, graham crackers, and fruit cup packs.
  • New Beginnings Bags: bags filled with “new home supplies” such as oils, spices, baking products, pasta, sauces, and cleaning supplies relieve the cost and burden of setting up a new home to ensure the successful transition from homelessness to independence.
  • Hot Dish Drive: contain the ingredients to make hot dishes.
  • Winter’s Coming Drive: donations consist of “winter” items like stew, chili, and hot chocolate mix (don’t forget the marshmallows!).
  • Bathroom Cabinet Bags: contain items commonly found in your bathroom: soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, shampoo or deodorant.

Holiday Themes and Event Ideas


  • “Take the Mystery Out of Giving”
  • “In the Spirit of Giving”
  • “Dare to Care”
  • “Treat” Your Neighbor Right
  • Pumpkin Carving Contest


  • “Give Thanks-Give Food”
  • Turkey and Chicken Drive
  • “Share the Bounty”


  • “Hunger Doesn’t Take a Vacation”
  • Summertime Drive
  • Summer Lunch for Kids


  • “Spread the Cheer This Time of Year”
  • “Tis the Season for Giving”
  • Kwanza Harvest Display
  • Kosher Food Drive

Valentine’s Day

  • “Giving from the Heart”
  • Donate in Honor of your Valentine


  • Easter Baskets for the Homeless and/or Children
  • “Hunt for Solutions to Hunger”

Source: Redwood Empire Food Bank, Food & Funds Drive Kit

Food Drive Slogans

  • “Take a byte out of Hunger.”
  • “Hunger’s Heroes”
  • “No matter how you say it, ‘Hunger Hurts'”
  • “Providing better health by curing hunger.”
  • “Hunger–If only words could fix it.”
  • “The hungry are banking on you.”
  • “Bean counters against hunger.”
  • “Check Out Hunger.”
  • “The hungry are counting on you.”
  • “Hunger–go figure.”
  • “The blueprint for feeding the hungry.”
  • “Sleep over to end hunger.”
  • “Let’s get together to end hunger.”
  • “See justice done. Feed the hungry.”
  • “Contract for a better tomorrow. End hunger today.”
  • “Let’s clean up on hunger.”
  • “Building a better community by fighting hunger today.”
  • “Lend the hungry a helping hand.”
  • “Go away…hunger”
  • “Wipe Out Hunger”
  • “Fighting a high rise problem–hunger.”
  • “Design a Hunger Free Community”
  • “The best closing of all: A closed door on hunger.”
  • “A towering problem: Hunger.”
  • “The Ultimate Savings Deposit: Feeding the Hungry.”
  • “Hunger: An unwelcome guest.”
  • “Making Hunger Disappear”
  • “Turn the Tables on Hunger”
  • “A City without Hunger is a City with Heart”
  • “Let’s BAG Hunger”
  • “Adios, Hunger!” (For a Cinco de Mayo Party)
  • “Kids for Kids”
  • “Cans for Children”
  • “Super Kids Soup Collection”
  • “It Makes Cents! (coin drive)
  • “The Power of Change”
  • “Spare Change Changes Lives”
  • “Hunger Won’t Wait”
  • “Raise Your Voice for the Hungry”
  • “The Hungry: Give them the credit they deserve. Feed them.”

Curriculum Ideas

To increase awareness of hunger issues through the use of age appropriate coloring books, games, reading material, and service learning projects, visit any of the following websites:

Hunger 101 Curricula:

Oxfam Hunger Banquet: