How to Organize a Food Drive

Food drive items with "how to organize a food drive" text overlay

Food drives are a great way to bring the local community together to fight against hunger and collaborate towards a better future. The Community FoodBank of New Jersey serves over 800 community partners and 800,000 New Jerseyans, and 27% of the food that goes to our neighbors in need are from donations given by the surrounding community. It’s your efforts and generosity that make what we and partnering pantries do possible.

How to Organize a Food Drive

  1. Get your team ready. Fundraising events are opportunities to connect with other community members and organizations. You can hold the food drive on your own or team up with friends, family, schoolmates, co-workers, or club members to co-host. Together, you can brainstorm the next steps.
  1. Pick the date and time. Choose a day of the week and time when most people would usually be free. For example, a Sunday afternoon would probably be a better day and time for most people than a Monday morning. You could also tie in the food drive with a holiday, birthday, or any significant day. The food drive doesn’t necessarily have to be on that specific day, especially a holiday as many people may be busy, but picking a date close enough to be able to tie the food drive and special day together could increase traffic.
  1. Determine your location. Pick a location that is easily accessible and familiar to both your team and the community where you’ll be holding the food drive. For example, if you’re teaming up with club members and soliciting donations from your schoolmates, your school is a great location for your drive. It’s also a good idea to choose a location where there is heavy traffic. For example, a grocery store is a popular and smart choices: people see that there is a food drive on their way in, they can buy an extra item or two, and then plop it into a collection bin on their way out.
  1. Register your food drive . Our team is available to assist you with any questions you might have as you get your food drive together and ready to launch.
  1. Ready your food drive supplies:
    • Collection bins or donation boxes (choose ones that are light yet sturdy enough to transport)
    • Table & chairs (for longer days)
    • Food Drive signage for table and Donate Here signage bins/boxes – check out our collection of toolkits for printable PDFs and further guidance about how to make the most of your food or hygiene product drive.
    • Most needed items list and other relevant brochures, pamphlets, one-pagers, etc.
  1. Schedule for reliable transportation to bring donated items to CFBNJ in Hillside or our Egg Harbor Township location. Donations that are anticipated to exceed 500 pounds can be picked up by CFBNJ. Donations may be left in the metal collection bin outside of both facilities and for donations over or expected to be over 500 pounds, contact CFBNJ.
  1. Market your food drive! Utilize our event toolkits for your social media, school bulletin boards, or local supermarket walls to market your food drive. Make sure to include all information from organization partnerships, date, location, and the most wanted items with a disclaimer that CFBNJ does not accept glass jars or perishable items!
    Group holding donated food - cans, pasta and boxes
  1. HAVE FUN! Fundraising should be a fun low-stress way of connecting with and serving the community. While hunger is a serious issue that impacts our neighbors, it’s important to remember that joy, fun, and laughter are also part of the solution. As you help do critical work for CFBNJ, you have an opportunity to bond with fellow service-oriented people too!

Looking for another way to fundraise? Monetary gifts are a key component of CFBNJ as 25% of our food is purchased, and we are able to source more food, specifically fresh produce and hygiene products with a single dollar through partnerships and wholesale purchases. Consider hosting your own virtual fund drive for an effective low-commitment alternative, or volunteering with CFBNJ.