Frequently Asked Questions

Food Drive Frequently Asked Questions


Do you have any tips for hosting a successful food drive?
How long should my food drive last?
How do I set a reasonable goal for the number of pounds to collect?
Can a speaker come to my School, church or business before the drive to talk about the needs locally?
How do I get the word out about my food drive event?
What kinds of food would you like to receive?
Are there items that you cannot use?
Where can I take the food after the Drive is finished?
Can I schedule a pick up?
How will my food drive effort be recognized? 
 


Do you have any tips for hosting a successful food drive?

Determine who you are going to target to solicit food donations from. Is it your customers, your colleagues, your students or congregation?
Offer an incentive or form a competition. Sometimes offering a discount or award entices people to contribute. Whether it is for admission into an event, an award of a pizza party or jean day.
More tips are found in the rest of the FAQ answers.

How long should my food drive last?
Some food drives last for six weeks or more and some are done as an event that lasts one day.

Company Drives:
Most food drives held at companies are usually most successful if they are 1-3 weeks long.
Have a culminating ending event for the most success.

School Food drives:
Usually one day events are held and food is the admission price.
Having more that one event can bring in more people to donate.
Classroom competitions are a good way to increase donations. One week is a good time frame for these.

Community Group Food drives:
Asking for donations at a grocery store or going door to door for donations are 2 examples of this type of food drive.
These usually last one day or are held for a weekend.

Church Food Drives:
Youth groups hold events at their Church for a weekend or Sunday to raise food.
Congregational collection drives are popular. Sometimes donations are solicited for a month or 1 or 2 Sundays.

Event Food Drives:
A one day event like a concert or sporting event is held with food as the admission price.
Designate the amount of cans needed as admission, if applicable.
Successfully promoting these kinds of drives is very important for success.
Be sure to have a donation box for cash available as well in case attendees forget to bring food and wish to donate that way instead.

How do I set a reasonable goal for the number of pounds to collect?

First determine the number of people you expect to participate in the drive.
If you have an admission of a certain number of cans multiply that number by the number of people expected. Remember 1 can is equal to about a pound.
At a company, school, or church, here is a good rule of thumb:
On average one person will donate 5 pounds of food.
Multiply 5 by the expected number of participants for your estimated number of pounds to reach your goal.
Community event drives are hard to estimate. Generally, most will bring in 250-400 pounds for a one time event and double that for a weekend event.
Keep in mind that the USDA estimates that 1.2 pounds of food is a meal.  You can estimate the number of meals that your event could provide to give participants further incentive.
250 pounds divided by 1.2 equals 208 meals for example. 
208 meals divided by 3 equals 69 days of 3 meals a day for one person, etc.

Can a speaker come to my School, church or business before the drive to talk about the needs locally?
Yes, contact Sunni Kegebein at 319-235-0507 ext. 105 to schedule a speaker.

How do I get the word out about my food drive event?

Click here for a flyer you can use
Write a newspaper press release and email it to shuber-otting@feedingamerica.org for Food Bank approval. 
Click here for important publicity information for food drives.
Contact Sheri Huber-Otting at 319-235-0507 ext. 126 or at the email above with information about your drive.
The Northeast Iowa Food Bank will put the information up on our website, Facebook, Twitter and in our bi-weekly email newsletter if applicable.

What kinds of food would you like to receive?
Click here for our wish list.

Are there items that you cannot use?
Yes, see below:

-Homemade or home canned products
-Boxed food items if the inner seal is torn, punctured, or there are signs of infestation or spoilage
-Canned foods that are severely dented, rusted, bulged, or show signs of leakage
-Unlabeled items

Where can I take the food after the Drive is finished?
All donations to the Northeast Iowa Food Bank can be dropped off Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Northeast Iowa Food Bank
1605 Lafayette Street
Waterloo, Iowa 50703

Can I schedule a pick up?

The Food Bank can pick up your food drive:
If you have 1 or more FULL barrels or about 200-250 lbs or more.
If you are a school
If your church does a monthly food drive
To schedule the pick up call Sheri Huber-Otting at 319-235-0507 extension 126 or email Sheri at shuber-otting@feedingamerica.org
We ask you to please bring in the food if it does not meet the above criteria, due to fuel costs involved in pick ups.

How will my food drive effort be recognized?

We mail out thank you letters monthly to all food drive efforts.
All food drives are recognized in our quarterly newsletter

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