The pandemic is having an immense impact on the food insecurity rate among adults and children in our community. What does that mean? It means that more than 16 percent of Utahns don’t have enough food to lead a healthy life, compared to 11 percent in 2018. It means that 21.3 percent of Utah children aren’t getting enough food, compared to 12.1 percent in 2018. Nationwide, the food insecurity rate has increased by approximately 130 percent from 2018 for households with children, according to the Brookings Institute.

With the increased demand, the shelves at our food bank and pantries in Wasatch, Summit, and Utah counties are being depleted. September is Hunger Action Month, and there’s no better time to do something about the hunger rate in our community. Hosting a food drive is one way you can help end hunger for your neighbors right now. Here are some ideas:

Make It Virtual

COVID-19 is increasing the demand for food pantries. People who’ve never needed a food bank before are now relying on them to feed their families. The pandemic also makes people nervous about hosting a food drive. That’s where virtual comes in:

  • Do it with Facebook. Create a food drive fundraiser, then ask your friends and family for donations. Facebook then sends all proceeds directly to us. We’ll use the proceeds to buy food to stock our shelves. And because of our support network, we can stretch every dollar further. For $96, we can feed three children for two months.
  • Use our website. Instead of setting up your own fundraising page, tell friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues that you’re hosting a virtual food drive fundraiser. Ask them to donate via our website the cost of a can or case of food. (You can find our most-needed items here.)
  • Create a wish list. You’ve probably created or purchased from an online registry for a wedding, baby, birthday, or Christmas. Why not make a wish list for a food drive? Use that most-wanted list as a guide, and then advertise the campaign to friends and family, on social media sites, and at work, school, and church. You can set up the donations to come directly to the food bank at 815 S. Freedom Boulevard Suite 100, Provo, UT 84601.

Get Creative with a Theme

Do you want to hold a traditional food drive where people drop off food at a central location and you deliver it to the food bank? No problem! We have tips for success, and here are some ideas to make it more memorable:

  • Gather kids nutrition pak supplies. Every Friday, we send backpacks of food home with elementary school children in need. All items are things the children can open and prepare for themselves. You could host a seven-week drive through your church or business, and each week ask people to bring one of the things we put in the backpacks.
    • 100% juice box
    • Entree (e.g., Kraft Easy Mac, Chef Boyardee Microwave Meal)
    • Package of fruit snacks
    • Package of peanut butter crackers
    • Fruit cup
    • Fruit and grain bar
    • Granola bar
  • Use Halloween. Turn the holiday into a food drive celebration. Plan with your neighbors, larger community, congregation, or colleagues to dress up and drop off food donations. You could even turn it into reverse trick-or-treating by having people drop off donations and (gently) throwing candy at kids dressed in costumes on their front lawns.
  • Think Thanksgiving (or Christmas). Ask for items based on what people eat for Thanksgiving or Christmas. If you don’t want to be that specific, ask for items that people eat for a particular meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner).

Hosting a food drive is one of the most effective ways to help fill shelves at our food pantries and help people in our community. If you need more information, call us at (801) 373-8200 or visit us here.