Too many older adults go hungry every day. In Massachusetts, over 50,000 older adults are at risk of hunger –– and the current economic crisis is only making things worse.
How can I help?
Help feed the hungry, and give back to your community during these uncertain times – by organizing a food drive! Collect food and/or monetary donations for your favorite community-based food organization. Create The Good’s how-to kit “Organize A Food Drive” can help you plan an event where you live.
How much time will I need?
An organizer should plan on 2 to 4 hours each week for several weeks leading up to the event. Other volunteer roles may require anywhere from 2 to 10 hours throughout the planning and actual food drive.
How do I get started?
Create The Good’s toolkit outlines the steps you need to take to organize your own event, and includes detailed tip sheets for event planning, logistics, and promotion. Here are a few steps to give you an idea of how to get started.
Pick a local group that needs food
Is there a food pantry or homeless shelter near you? What about your church, senior center, or local school? If you’re looking for suggestions on who to contact, check with your area food bank.
- Food Bank of Western Mass
- Greater Boston Food Bank
- Merrimack Valley Food Bank
- Worcester County Food Bank
Decide how you want to collect donations
Single-site drop off: You ask people to bring food donations to one location during set hours on a specific day. Volunteers work at the collection site.
Extended food drive: You set up numerous collection points with drop boxes where people can leave food over the course of several weeks. Volunteers collect the donations once a day.
Event-related food drive: Your team partners with a local event – like a sports game, music festival or county fair – and sets up collection sites at the event.
Assess volunteer needs and recruit
Establish a small committee to plan and coordinate the food drive. Select an overall coordinator (that may be you) and team leaders for individual tasks. Depending on the size of your food drive, there could be 2 to 6 team leaders.
The team leads should:
- Help recruit volunteers for the food drive
- Promote the food drive with flyers throughout the community
- Ensure local media are aware of the drive
- Set up the collection site
- Lead a shift during the event
- Help coordinate food sorting and delivery after the drive
Ask your family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and faith group members to help make the food drive a success. Check with local community organizations, libraries, schools, senior centers, places of worship, etc. that may already have a pool of volunteers for their own purposes. Email is a great way to keep the volunteers informed.
Post the food drive on Create The Good http://www.CreatetheGood.org to recruit more volunteers or to promote the drive.
Learn more, and get started on organizing your own food drive today. Visit Create The Good and download “Organize A Food Drive”.
If no local organization needs support, consider running a virtual food drive. Because of their buying power, food banks can stretch a $10 donation to buy up to $100 or more worth of food.
Help AARP MA fight hunger in your community
This October, as part of the AARP Create The Good Hunger Campaign, AARP Massachusetts will hold food drives in Springfield. All non-perishable food items will go to the Open Pantry Community Services Emergency Food Pantry in Springfield.
AARP MA is recruiting volunteers for this event, and also in Greater Boston and Western Mass. to help Project Bread and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts with SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps) enrollment.
For more information about these and other planned activities around the state, check the AARP MA event calendar link and our blog for details.
Share your story with Create The Good
We want to hear stories about how you helped give back to your community. You just might inspire others to do the same.
Remember, whether you’ve got five minutes, five hours or five days, you can make a positive impact in your community. And if you have more time, consider organizing another service activity, finding local opportunities and posting your events at Create The Good.
Organize a Food Drive
Create The Good
Open Pantry Community Services