Running My First Food Drive

Hello and welcome back to Weekend Coffee Share #51! I hope you’ve had an enjoyable holiday and a great start to the new year. Let’s catch up while we enjoy our hot coffee or tea.

If you’re new to my blog or the weekly Weekend Coffee Share link-up, welcome! Please check my guidelines before linking up.

Week 1/ 52

I had a wonderful blogging break and returned with my Happy New Year 2022 blog post last Sunday. On Tuesday I finished my first Community Food Drive. In previous years, I donated food items and money to food banks. A few events compelled me to take a more hands-on approach.

Heart
Heart display at the Distillery District

My First Food Drive

Here are 5 things I’d like to share about my first Community Food Drive:

1. It started with an e-mail

In early December 2021, I got an email from the office of my community centre advising that during COVID-19, food banks will not pick up donations from our traditional collection boxes at the community centre. They pick up from fire halls or participating grocery stores. In the same week, I read articles about increasing food insecurity, food prices, and use of food banks.

Both the community centre and a local fire hall are on my walking route. They’re about 800m (0.5 mile) apart. For pedestrians, it’s easy. For drivers, it’s a nightmare due to the street layout and no public parking at the fire hall. Without the convenient pick up from collection boxes, food banks may get less donations. I saw a service gap that I could bridge.

2. It was easy to set up

I contacted Daily Bread food bank and the community centre to inquire about having a collection box to run a food drive. I volunteered to pick up food donations from the collection box and walk to deliver them to a local fire hall.

After a few emails, the community centre agreed to set up two collection boxes with Daily Bread’s list of Most Needed Food Items posted, and a message out to residents in my neighbourhood.

3. It was a contactless project

Following public health COVID-19 guidelines, I had no contact with the donors or staff. Pick-up and drop-off locations were unattended and outdoors. I specified a start date and an end date for the food drive: From December 13th to 31st.

I took a blogging break in the last two weeks of December to work on the food drive. It was a good decision. I picked up the food donations, sorted them to balance the weights, and walked to drop them off.

Samples of food donations
Samples of food donations

4. It was heartwarming

Since it was my first food drive, I had no idea what to expect. The donations were heartwarming. One neighbour left me a message to say my generosity has inspired other residents and they offered help if I needed assistance moving the donations.

The donations and that message affirmed my faith in humanity. Good people are out there and we care about our community.

5. It ended with excellent results

My food drive collected three hundred fifty (350) non-perishable and most needed food items, or about $1500 in cash equivalent. I shared the results with my neighbours and thanked the donors for their generosity.

Together, we contributed to help those in need and make our community a better place. It was an excellent way to start the new year.

How has your week been?

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99 thoughts on “Running My First Food Drive

  1. leannelc January 7, 2022 / 8:14 am

    That’s such a great result Natalie – I love how proactive you were and how it inspired others around you. Nothing beats generosity and you’ve made such a difference by doing something so simple. It warmed my heart to read your post. And thanks for a new year of link parties 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Jones January 7, 2022 / 4:01 pm

      What a lovely thing to do Natalie and especially at Christmas time. I could sense that doing this gave you a sense of well-being as well as helping others. It sounds like you inspired your neighbours to get behind you also. Well done.

      Like

      • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:28 pm

        Thank you, Jennifer, for your kind comments. I’m glad I volunteered and got the wonderful support from my neighbours.

        Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:26 pm

      Thank you, Leanne, for your kind comments. The food drive results exceeded what I hoped for and they warmed my heart, too. Looking forward to our coffee shares this year.

      Like

  2. Jill Weatherholt January 7, 2022 / 8:31 am

    Treating people with generosity can lead you to a joyful life. It’s good to go the extra mile and you certainly did that, Natalie. Brava! Happy New Year!

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:29 pm

      Happy New Year, Jill. I felt joy every time I saw food donations in the collection boxes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Betty January 7, 2022 / 9:00 am

    Great job! You’ll likely never know how many times this will inspire others to be of service. Happy New Year to you!

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:31 pm

      Happy New Year, Betty. I was thankful for my neighbours’ support and their food donations. If my volunteering inspired anyone to be of service, I would feel honoured.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Michele Somerville January 7, 2022 / 9:46 am

    What a great story Natalie, congratulations on responding to the need around you and finding creative ways to help meet the need and encourage others to do the same! Thank you for starting us out with such good inspiration. Michele

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:33 pm

      Thank you Michele for your kind comments. I think each one of us can find ways to help others. I was thankful for my neighbour’s support and their food donations.

      Like

  5. Liesbet @ Roaming About January 7, 2022 / 10:01 am

    I was looking forward to this post, Natalie, to learn more about food drives. Or, food walks! 🙂 I was curious how you would drive as you don’t have a car. What a great way to start the new year and to learn that your community cares about others. Have a great weekend!

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:39 pm

      Haha, Liesbet, of course with me it’s walking or cycling. Food walks tend to make people think of a tour that takes you to different eateries to try different dishes 🙂 I’m very happy with the results. My neighbour who has lived in the area for forty years told me it was the most successful food drive to date.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Retirement Reflections January 7, 2022 / 10:44 am

    Congratulations, Natalie – This is another example of how one person can make a huge difference. Great post!

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:40 pm

      Thank you, Donna. The food drive was something that I could do to contribute to and promote peace.

      Like

  7. Writing Sparkle January 7, 2022 / 10:59 am

    Congratulations on the food drive. What a lovely start to the year.

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:41 pm

      Thank you Shari. I’m thankful for my neighbours’ wonderful support and donations.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Scribble and Scran January 7, 2022 / 11:47 am

    Great way to start the year, and great exercise! Makes me want to do better. Thanks for sharing

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:43 pm

      Thank you, Alex, for your comment. The walks with weights are good strength training.

      Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:43 pm

      Thank you Barbara and Happy New Year to you and your husband!

      Like

  9. Astrid January 7, 2022 / 1:57 pm

    I’d never heard of this, but it sounds so good! I’m so glad you took on this opportunity to volunteer your time for the needy. I am also so happy it was such a success!

    Like

  10. restlessjo January 7, 2022 / 2:41 pm

    It’s great that you spotted the need, Natalie, and were able to follow through. It’s sad that people have to rely on food banks but wonderful that they exist. Happy rest of the year, hon!

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 5:59 pm

      Happy New Year, Jo! I was glad to be able to help and thankful for my neighbours’ wonderful support.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 6:00 pm

      Thank you, Janis. I was glad to be able to help and the donations were amazing.

      Like

  11. Ally Bean January 7, 2022 / 3:06 pm

    Yay you! I am a sucker for donating to food drives so I’m glad that you did this and it was a success. Every little bit of goodness in the world helps the whole world.

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 6:04 pm

      Thank you, Ally. I’m thankful for my neighbours’ support and donations.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Janet Alcorn January 7, 2022 / 3:17 pm

    That’s wonderful of you, Natalie! And you’re right—there are lots of good people in the world who care about their communities.

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 6:06 pm

      Thank you, Janet. The food donations were amazing evidence of my neighbours’ generosity.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 January 7, 2022 / 3:54 pm

    How generous, Natalie and I’m sure your efforts were greatly appreciated. We all need kindness in the world, especially now and I’m sure you felt fulfilled doing your part. Happy New Year and here’s to more Weekend Coffee Shares in 2022. x

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 6:09 pm

      Thank you, Sue. The food drive results exceeded what I hoped for. Happy New Year to you and Mike!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 6:09 pm

      Thank you Gary and happy New Year!

      Like

  14. Jo January 7, 2022 / 7:22 pm

    What a heartwarming post to read on a rainy Saturday morning. Happy new year and well done!

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 7:35 pm

      Thank you and Happy New Year, Jo. I look forward to reading your coffee share post.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Suzanne@PictureRetirement January 7, 2022 / 7:49 pm

    Natalie, noticing a need and filling it are two very different things. You should be very proud of yourself for doing both. And, you inspired a community to follow your lead. Congratulations!

    Like

    • Natalie January 7, 2022 / 8:11 pm

      Thank you, Suzanne, for your kind comments. I felt compelled to take actions. I’m thankful for the support that I received, from the community centre manager who offered two collection boxes, to all the food donations from my community. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy New Year!

      Like

  16. Debbie January 8, 2022 / 4:39 am

    Well done Natalie, this sounds like a great project all about helping out and giving back! Great to be back with you for #weekendcoffeeshare

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 4:39 pm

      Thank you Debbie for your kind words and for linking up with us. I look forward to reading your coffee share post.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. trentpmcd January 8, 2022 / 8:36 am

    Sounds like a great endeavour. Very cool that you saw an issue, thought of a solution and raised your hand to make that solution come to light – well done! Humanity does have it’s good side, and you are proof 🙂

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 4:41 pm

      Thank you Trent for your kind comments. I felt compelled to take actions. I’m thankful for my neighbours’ support and donations. They exceeded what I hoped to achieve for the food drive.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Wandering Dawgs January 8, 2022 / 9:28 am

    What a wonderful project to help your community! Congratulations on making it a success.

    Like

  19. Jackie January 8, 2022 / 9:33 am

    Good for you taking that initiative. You just reminded me that our building normally has a food drive but didn’t this year because of Covid. I’m sure we could have come up with a solution.

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 4:45 pm

      Covid has affected so many initiatives including food drives. Daily Bread accepts donations year-round. I hope your condo comes up with a solution.

      Like

  20. Antoinette Truglio Martin January 8, 2022 / 10:00 am

    Congrats on your generous endeavor. Looking forward to hearing about this more.

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 4:47 pm

      Thank you Antoinette. I’ve volunteered for other events although COVID spread has put many of them on hold for now.

      Like

  21. PamelaS.Canepa, Writing and Living January 8, 2022 / 10:12 am

    Natalie, Bless you for taking action on a problem in your community! The COVID era has affected so many people in many different ways. I see it in the emotional state of your young people today. You have addressed a very important area!

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 4:49 pm

      Thank you Pam. I agree with you that COVID has affected so many people in many different ways. Food is a basic need. I was compelled to take actions. I’m thankful for my neighbours’ generous donations.

      Like

  22. Joanne January 8, 2022 / 10:59 am

    That is fantastic! I am sure your efforts were greatly appreciated and much needed.

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 4:50 pm

      Thank you, Joanne. My neighbours and I are thrilled with the results. Daily Bread food bank has thanked us for our efforts.

      Like

  23. Marsha January 8, 2022 / 12:09 pm

    Hi Natalie, I’m so glad your food bank efforts turned out so successfully. You are an amazing woman. Best in 2022.

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 4:51 pm

      Thank you Marsha. The results exceeded what I hoped to collect for the food drive. I’m thankful for my neighbours’ generous donations. Happy New Year to you and Vince!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha January 9, 2022 / 3:29 pm

        Thanks, Natalie. Thanks for all you do. You are an amazing, generous, and considerate human.

        Like

        • Natalie January 9, 2022 / 3:37 pm

          Wow, thank you for your kind words, Marsha. In the words of motivational speaker Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • Marsha January 9, 2022 / 3:56 pm

            Your friends must have very high scores! 🙂

            Like

  24. Maria January 8, 2022 / 2:02 pm

    This is so wonderful to read about your initiative with the food bank! Bravo! Awesome job!

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 4:52 pm

      Thank you Maria. My neighbours’ generous donations made the food drive a success.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Kirstin January 8, 2022 / 4:01 pm

    That’s so awesome Natalie. What a fulfilling idea.

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 4:54 pm

      Thank you, Kirstin. It was heartwarming to see new donations every time I checked the collection boxes. I’m very happy with the results.

      Like

  26. dawnkinster January 8, 2022 / 6:04 pm

    Wonderful! I wonder if the neighbors could be coordinated to take turns transporting donations so that it could be continous?

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 6:17 pm

      I think coordinating the transport is doable if there are ongoing donations. People tend to donate more around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

      Like

  27. Diana January 8, 2022 / 6:36 pm

    Hi Natalie,
    What a wonderful contribution to your community through the holidays to do the food drive. Look at all the donations, such wonderful photos and what a great way to end the year. Thank you for the coffee and I’m hoping 2022 will be a good year. ❤️🤩

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 7:15 pm

      Thank you Diana for your kind comments. I’m very happy with the results of the food drive. I also hope 2022 will be a good year for all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. csuhpat1 January 8, 2022 / 7:09 pm

    That is so very cool. I am so happy for you. Very nice. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you have a wonderful week.

    Like

    • Natalie January 8, 2022 / 7:17 pm

      Thank you Patrick. My neighbours’ food donations were amazing to see. Happy New Year to you and have a great week!

      Like

    • Natalie January 9, 2022 / 8:25 am

      Thank you Deborah. Happy New Year to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Tena Carr January 9, 2022 / 1:07 pm

    Sounds like you did an amazing job and had a great time smile😊.

    Like

    • Natalie January 9, 2022 / 1:17 pm

      I’m very happy with the food drive results. Have a great week ahead!

      Like

  30. Julie January 10, 2022 / 12:36 am

    Congratulations on completing your first food drive! At my hospital, we partner with a local food bank where we distribute food to patients and community members experiencing food insecurity.

    Like

    • Natalie January 10, 2022 / 8:37 am

      Thank you, Julie. That’s a good partnership that your hospital has with a local food bank. I’m sure it helps the patients and community members who need the service.

      Like

  31. Rowena January 10, 2022 / 12:14 pm

    Happy New Year, Natalie. So good you could get this food drive up and running and you put so much into it. That’s wonderful and your enthusiasm is contagious and now spreading onto your blog as well. Our church has a meal and grocery program called Meals of Hope.We get donations from supermarkets and package them up to help people out. I was dropping them off to people, especially loads of bread. We often had too much of it and it was good to drop it round to my elderly neighbours who also appreciated the visit and chat. I saw some incredible things happen through dropping off these meals.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Like

    • Natalie January 10, 2022 / 12:38 pm

      Happy New Year, Rowena. I’m sure people, especially elderly neighbours, appreciate the Meals of Hope program and your visits. Many elders live alone and they appreciate a chat, even if it’s short. All the best to you and your family in 2022.

      Like

  32. Dan Antion January 10, 2022 / 5:53 pm

    I am continually impressed by your energy level and the things you put that energy to, Natalie. Congrats on a successful food drive. This is something that has such a profound benefit for the community. Well done.

    Like

    • Natalie January 10, 2022 / 6:55 pm

      Thank you, Dan, for your kind comments. I felt compelled to take actions. The results exceeded what I hoped to get for the food drive so it was great for the community. Happy New Year to you and your family!

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Ju-Lyn January 11, 2022 / 8:44 pm

    Such an inspirational project Natalie! It is heart-warming to find that there are many who care and will take action to help others.

    P/S Love the heart art – I adore all yarn & fabric installations!

    Like

    • Natalie January 11, 2022 / 8:55 pm

      Ju-Lyn, The food drive results exceeded what I hoped for and my neighbours’ generosity reminded me of the heart art that I photographed. I’m glad you liked it.

      Like

      • Ju-Lyn January 16, 2022 / 10:35 pm

        It’s projects like these that remind us how generous people can be. Indeed hear-warming.

        Like

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