The holiday season is a time to spread kindness and compassion for all, especially to the many families struggling to put food on the table. One great way to give back during the holidays is to host a vegan food drive to help a local food bank provide meals to those who go hungry in your community.

‘Tis the season for giving, so follow these easy steps to make your food drive a success and spread compassion to all!

Step 1: Contact Your Local Food Bank

Before you get started on planning your food drive, make sure to do your research and find a group in your community who you’d like to support. If you need help finding a food bank near you, try searching Feeding America to locate one near you.

Once you’ve selected which organization to work with, make sure to contact them about holding a food drive. They will know best what items they need and what folks who utilize their services will use. Make sure to ask:

  • Who generally uses their assistance
  • What donations they can and cannot accept. For instance, some food banks may not be able to accept refrigerated foods, glass jars, or fresh produce.
  • Which vegan items are most popular and needed by their community

By targeting donations that will be appropriate for their community they serve, you’ll make sure to maximize your impact! For more tips on how to hold an effective food drive for your community, visit Food Empowerment Project’s article, “Donating Food Takes Thought".

Step 2: Decide on How to Collect Food

There are a couple of ways to hold a food drive: single-site drop off or an extended drive.

To hold a single-site drop off, you arrange to have folks bring their donations to a specific location during certain hours of a predetermined day. You might need to have volunteers at the site all day to collect donations from the public as they stop by. At the end of the day, you can compile the donations and deliver them to the food bank that evening.

An extended food drive can last several days or weeks. To organize an extended drive, you’ll need to drop off a bin at popular locations. You may want to use a sign like the one featured below to attract attention and specify which items you are seeking. Depending on the amount of traffic at the locations you choose, you may want to check the bins every couple days. You can deliver the items as you receive them or at the end of the food drive, depending on the preferences of your local food bank.

Step 3: Pick a Location to Host the Food Drive

Once you’ve decided how you want to collect donations, then you’ll need to choose a location for donation drop-offs.

Great drop-off locations for food drives include grocery stores, libraries, school, churches and other religious groups, and other community spaces with high foot traffic. Make sure to contact your desired locations first to ask if they will allow you to either place your bin or hold a single-site drop off in their space.

Step 4: Recruit Friends and Get the Word Out

The more people you can recruit to help out, the better! Encourage your friends and family to help you organize, volunteer at the site, post flyers and collect and deliver donations.

Getting the word out about your drive will help make it a successful one. There are a number of ways to spread the word about your food drive:

  • post flyers at local businesses, schools, and community spaces
  • call radio stations and other local media to spread the word about your drive
  • share your event on social media, especially with other local veg groups

Step 5: Set Up Bins at Locations with Food Requests and Posters

Take bins to your chosen location(s) and set them up with posters and a list of food donation requests. To get you started, we’ve created these templates for a donation bin poster and a flyer.

Just edit the documents to include the specific items you are seeking as well as information about the group your drive will benefit, then start spreading the word!

Step 6: Deliver Donations After the Drive

If you are hosting an extended food drive it is best to check on the bins every day or every other day. If bins become full before the end of the drive, deliver them to the food bank and make sure there is an empty bin in its place so others can still contribute. Work with your local food bank to make a plan for how to bring the donations to them, whether it is all at once or as the donations come in.

Step 7: Submit your Event Report!

By organizing a vegan food drive for Compassionate Holidays, not only will you be helping provide warm meals to those in need, you will also earn 2,000 CAN credits as our way of thanking you for your generosity. Just fill out an event report and submit your pictures with your total item count. Plus, for every bin that fills up, you’ll earn an extra 500 credits if you send us a picture! With a store full of great rewards, like fun merchandise, gift cards to vegan businesses, and cash, you might even be able to get a little holiday shopping done too!

Thank you for joining us in spreading kindness and the joy of vegan meals this year for Compassionate Holidays!