Providing Nutrition to Families: Food & Fund Drives

How do food and fund drives help families?

For Operation Food Search, food and fund drives enable us to provide high-quality food to children, individuals and families throughout the bi-state area. Quality “meal-maker” items are sorted and distributed by OFS through our networks of nearly 200 partners. Anyone can organize a food or fund drive. They are a great opportunity to help support people at risk of hunger and bring awareness of food insecurity in our region. They are a vital component of Operation Food Search’s approach to hunger relief.

What is a food drive?

A food drive is a campaign or event where donated food is collected from groups or individuals and given to a hunger-relief organization for distribution to the community. We provide all food drive donations to our partner agencies at no cost. These agencies include food pantries, shelters and other community sites. In return, our partner agencies share the food donations with members of their local communities for free. Food drives are crucial to our ability to provide families with healthy and nutritious, shelf-stable food. In fact, food drives and virtual food drives (“fund” drives) raised more than $1 million in food and monetary donations for OFS each year.

Some of our most sought-after food drive donations include items with high protein content, such as cans and pouches of chicken and fish, as well as shelf-stable meals like soup, stews and chilis. After receiving the donations, Operation Food Search volunteers sort and pack all the goods into boxes to be distributed to partner agencies.

In addition to providing food for those in need, food drives help spread awareness about hunger and food insecurity here in the St. Louis region. Food drives of all sizes make a difference; even a donation of 8 pounds of nonperishable food will help us feed two people for an entire day!

What is a fund drive?

A fund drive is a campaign or event that collects monetary donations from groups or individuals that enables Operation Food Search to purchase high-quality foods to feed families living with food insecurity. Because we leverage our partnerships with food donors, every dollar given to help meet the immediate need for food provides $10 in food and services for the community.

Operation Food Search uses these funds to purchase food for programs like Operation Backpack, Fresh Rx and others. The food purchased includes healthy, kid-friendly options and essential items like fresh, local produce with a focus on nutrient-dense foods.

Many organizations and companies hold fund drives as team-building activities that include prizes and raffles for people participating. Operation Food Search can quickly set up a custom donation link that provides information about the ways donations can be used. Donors have the option to select which program they would like to support. They can choose for their gift to be used where it’s needed most or to support programs such as Operation Backpack, Fresh Rx, MetroMarket, Community Nutrition and more. Operation Food Search tracks these donations for you and reports ongoing totals to help motivate additional participation.

How to Get Involved

Anyone can lead a food or fund drive. Operation Food Search provides multiple resources and support to make holding food and fund drives easy and fun! Follow the link to learn more about food and fund drives. You’ll find contact information for any questions and inquiries.

Written by Matt Kasate, Volunteer and Food Drive Manager

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