VolunteerBillings Food Bank
Join our team and help us make good things happen in our community.
Although money and food commodities are very important donations it takes many people to make the Billings Food Bank work at it’s optimum. We are always looking for volunteers to perform a variety of tasks and we are grateful to all volunteers for bringing their varied talents to us.
Food & Fun Drives
Cash donations keep our freezers running and our trucks on the road. They also support all of our programs that address the root cause of hunger through advocacy and education.
Food drives provide the BFB with the food that are most needed in assisting the hungry. Food donations provide a link between you, the donor, and people who are hungry.
Running a food drive is easy and fun! Following a few easy tips will make the process smooth and fun for everyone involved!
- Identify a reasonable goal based on how long you’ll run the drive and how many people you expect to participate.
- Decide how you will collect the donated food. Depending on the size of your drive, boxes usually work well. You are also welcome to pick up a barrel at our warehouse.
- Decide what material you will need. We can provide you with donor envelopes, fact sheets and (posters)
- Let us know about your drive! Contact us and let us know the dates and times.
- Keep enthusiasm high! Get as many people involved as you can. Hold contests, make posters or think of your own ways to keep interest high.
Where to Start
Thank you for coordinating a food and fund drive to fight hunger in our community. As a need continues to grow, food drives become increasingly important! Here are some of the steps to a successful drive:
Set a goal
How many potential contributors do you have? How much can you reasonably expect to collect from each donor? Will collect food, funds or both.
(Please help be good stewards of our resources by not requesting delivery and pick up of food drive donations unless you are reasonably sure that your drive will collect at least 500 pounds of food. This amount will cover the costs associated with running our trucks.)
(Important Note: BFB needs and encourages food drives of ALL SIZES. For food drives generating less than 500 pounds, we request that you use your own boxes to collect food, and that you deliver your donations to Billings Food Bank.)
Decide how you will collect the food.
When to use your own boxes: For many reasons, small to medium-sized boxes work well for food drives. They aren’t too heavy when full and you can decorate them with wrapping or a Billings Food Bank Poster. We encourage you to use boxes for a drive generating less than 500 pounds.
When to us Billings Food Bank Barrels: Billings Food Bank can provide large barrels if you plan to raise 500 pounds of food or more. Barrels display Billings Food Bank’s logo and generally holds up to 200 pounds. Billings Food Bank can deliver barrels to your food drive site and pick them up at the end of the event. This will need to be scheduled in advance.
First the Basics…
- Get a small group together to help organize the drive.
- Decide if you will raise food, funds or both. Billings Food Bank values both contributions.
- Decide what type of drive you want to stage, i.e. a party, a competition, etc. Then set a reasonable goal.
- Agree on the drive length. Will it be a one-day event, a one week event or longer?
- Choose the drive’s location. Will it occur at one place or several locations?
- Decide on a collection method: boxes or barrels.
- Contact Billings Food Bank at (406)259-2856 if you have any questions.
Next, get everything ready…
- Inform your drive with the Billings Food Bank.
- Request Billings Food Bank barrels, posters, brochures, donor envelopes and any other materials you may need.
- Send out memos, phone messages, newsletters and emails to promote the drive. Plan ways to keep up the momentum throughout the food drive.
- Consider arranging a Hunger Awareness Day at the start or during your drive.
- Acquire and decorate boxes or barrels for food collection.
- Place the collection boxes in convenient, visible areas. Arrange to store them during the drive.
Then during the drive…
- Update the participants on the amount of food and funds you have collected through a sign in a high traffic area, announcements, newsletters or e-mail.
- Plan to bring your group to Billings Food Bank to participate in sorting the donated food.
When the drive is over…
- If you are delivering the food to the Billings Food Bank, coordinate volunteers to pack the food, load and transport to the food bank.
- Food can be delivered between 8am-5pm, weekdays. Or make arrangements for the BFB to pick up your donations. When you deliver the donations make sure you get a receipt.
- Share drive results with all participants. Send thank-you letters, throw a party! Make awards to celebrate efforts. We appreciate all the hard work of all our donors.
Fun Ideas for Raising Food & Funds
- Organize pledge drives. Ask family and friends to pledge money if you walk or bicycle a specific distance.
- Have a garage sale. Ask family and friends for items.
- Sponsor bake sales.
- Organize cake walks.
- Hold taco, chili or pancake feeds.
- Sponsor and ice cream social
- Sell popcorn or lollipops.
- Invite family and friends to make donations to Billings Food Bank as a birthday, anniversary or holiday gift.
- Organize a silent-auction-get fun items have teams or departments make themed gift baskets.) Or have them get certificates from local vendors.
- Sponsor a craft bazaar.
- Collect food and funds at film festivals, sporting events or any community functions.
- Place jars or donation bins near break rooms, copiers or fax machines.
How to Add Energy to Your Food & Fun Drives
- Plan a healthy completion between departments, classrooms, and teams. Friendly competition adds energy to a drive and helps people remember to donate.
- Offer rewards to top donors (for example: pizza parties, gift certificates, casual clothes day for employees.
- Assign specific foods from the “Most Needed food list.” To each team or group.
- Encourage teams to choose a mascot or team name.
Give your creative spirit an outlet
- Make colorful posters noting the dates and location of your food drive.
- Create a giant graph so you can measure your progress toward your goal.
- Identify your drive with a creative name.
- Decorate bags for participants to take home. Fill with food and return.
- Designate theme days. Fill a playpen or crib with infant formula or baby food on Monday. Plant a “garden” in the lobby on Tuesday. Get creative with your ideas.
Make it an event
- Kick off your drive with opening day festivities.
- Bake sales, pie throwing contests and car washes are tried and true food and fund raisers.
Hunger Facts for Food Drives
Hunger Fact 1
Emergency food box distribution has begun to level at record highs.
Hunger Fact 2
An emergency food box is a 1 -2 week supply of food.
Hunger Fact 3
Food collected during food drives remains in the community.
Hunger Fact 4
Families, children and elderly face the greatest need.
Hunger Fact 5
People are hungry because they don’t make enough to cover basic living costs, which makes it difficult to pay for these basic needs and food.
Most Wanted Foods
Billings Food Bank needs these foods:
- Canned meats (tuna, chicken and salmon.)
- Canned vegetables.
- Canned Fruits.
- Canned and boxed meals (soups, macaroni and cheese, hamburger helper.)
- Peanut Butter
- Canned or dry peas or beans.
- Pasta, rice cereal.
- Fruit juice.
- Shelf stable milk.
- Granola bars, breakfast bars.
- Baby food and formula.
Billings Food Bank is in needs of these items:
- Plastic grocery bags
- Sandwich, lunch bags and freezer and storage bags.
We need sandwich bags for the sack lunches we make for the homeless.
And we need storage and freezer to break down big packages of food into smaller packages.
Suggested Food Items Non Expired Foods
- Peanut Butter
- Pork & Beans
- Fresh Meats
- Fresh Produce
- Fresh Dairy Products
- Canned Tuna
- Canned Meats
- Tomato Sauce
- Whole Tomatoes
- Tuna Helper
- Hamburger Helper
- Potato Chips
- Baking Mix
- Bottled Water
- Dry Milk
- Canned Milk
- Baby Food
- Baby Formula
- Macaroni & Cheese
Suggested Non-Food Items
Many people ask us if they can donate their surplus non-food items to the Billings food Bank and we are happy to tell them that there is indeed a need for non-food items. Below is a partial list of items that are always in demand. If you are able to donate any items on this list please give us a call or drop us an email.
- Baby Wipes
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towels
- Ziploc Bags
- Tin Foil
- Plastic Wrap
The Billings Food Bank is a community organization helping those less fortunate. Although money and food commodities are very important donations it takes many people to make the Billings Food Bank work at it’s optimum. We are always looking for volunteers to perform a variety of tasks and we are grateful to all volunteers for bringing their varied talents to us.
We truly believe that when many people work together – great things can be accomplished.
Do you feel the same way? Would you like to offer your talents and serve your community to make it better? We will work with you to pair your talent with tasks we need to complete. Do you good organizational skills? Do you know the ins and outs of a computer? Maybe you enjoy driving. If you would like to volunteer your services to the Billings Food Bank we would love to hear from you.
Give us a call and visit with us about your talents and our current needs. There are few things more rewarding than helping others with their needs. Be a part of the team that is making a difference in the lives of people in our community. Contact us today.