Ideas for Marketing a Monthly Food Drive


Thanks to Pat Plant, Hunger Action Advocate in San Jose Presbytery for sharing this! And to Barbara Howell from Middle Tennessee for the “Paper Plate Campaign” ideas.

You could:

  • Develop a ‘marketing plan’ with a repeating slogan and use it on news releases, signs, etc (Support Sacred Heart’s (or whatever name of the pantry) Effort to End Hunger, Help End Hunger in our Community, Hunger Hurts – help wipe it out!, etc.)
  • Make a stirring “moment for Mission” announcement during worship  (or do a short skit about generosity, the need, action rather than in-action); invite the pantry manager to speak to the congregation.
  • Make a poster in a often seen place about the need for food  for your pantry  (If the cupboards are bare, a photo of that makes the point that there needs to be much more donated)
  • Mention in your newsletter and e-newsletter and bulletin
  • Make buttons (or hats, or signs, or T shirts) sporting your message and worn by people who can also encourage others
  • Stage a mini-event during fellowship hour after worship.  Have no snacks or coffee (You might add signs that say something like “This is what hunger feels like”) and instead have people bring in food for others using perhaps, the following quotes (or others – there are loads of them!) from the Bible to encourage your blessed members:
    • “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us – and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?” – 1 John 3:16-17
    • “The man who has two coats should share with the man who has none; and he who has food should do likewise.” – Luke 3:11
    • Talk to your pastor about this.  Maybe you could have a “Hunger Sunday”, the pastor could preach on hunger and sharing/generosity); focus on encouraging your members’ generosity to this need
    • Keep track of the pounds donated and post or promote the rising totals.  (See attached for my church.)  I promote both the food drive tally and the food bag tally (we give out lunch bags at the church’s front door daily).  These tally sheets posted on several bulletin boards at church is both motivating and affirming that the church is DOING SOMETHING that helps others. Also, when we hit a ton, or 2 tons like we’re about to do on the food drive, the agency where the food goes will make a fuss in their newsletter which I can promote at my people, and maybe their director will come to church to publicly thank the congregation. This is only possible if you keep track 🙂 (At my old church I did this over a 6 year period.  At some point we passed 10 tons of food donated, and we held a 10 Ton celebration. We found out all the things that weigh 10 tons (whale, VW Bug, etc. and promoted this on all the church bulletin boards.  Someone had a new VW Bug and was willing to park it on Sunday in the church courtyard and have it filled with canned and packaged food. We made big signs that said something like “This is what 10 tons of food looks like.” That news got in the city newspaper and got more donations from other churches and individuals.  All good!
    • Here is an idea based on the “Paper Plate Campaign” used by Bread for the World, Food Research & Action Center, and others. Using basic white paper plates, make a display with quotes such as:
      • Can we afford more empty plates in our community?
      • Nourish New Jersey’s people – nourish the future
      • 1 in 8 children is at risk of hunger in New Jersey
      • 42% of the members of households in New Jersey served by the emergency food are children under 18 years old (up from 33% in 2006); 8% of the members of households are children age 0 to 5 years.
      • 49% of emergency food clients in NJ report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel.
      • Hunger is closer than you think – As of 2010, 1,101,570 people live in food insecure households in NJ. (About 1 in 12 or 11.5%)

      A lot of local hunger facts can be found through links on the New Jersey’s Anti-Hunger Coalition’s website.


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