Did you know that our Food Center serves upwards of 450 families each and every month? We serve families like the Hosteters who are trying to get back on their feet but need assistance to make ends meet. Things like a sudden job loss, a big move, an increase in rent, or an unexpected illness force many of our neighbors to struggle with putting consistent meals on the table. At our Food Center, we offer healthy supplemental food choices to these neighbors. We also offer prayer from volunteers like Lily Smit and encourage clients to check out our other programs that can benefit the entire family.
We use financial donations to purchase food from Feeding America for the Food Center. To donate a secure online gift for the Food Center, click here.
In addition to donating money for this investment, holding a food drive is a great way to spread the message about Streams of Hope and help us keep the Food Center shelves fully stocked for our neighbors! It also adds a lot of variety to our shelves so that families have many options to choose from. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make it happen:
I. Contact our campus to let us know you’re interested.
If you’re thinking about holding a Food Drive, please let us know so that we can help make the process easy for you! We can also share specific areas of need or suggested donations.
II. Decide on a time of year to hold the Food Drive.
Our times of greatest need is typically right after Christmas (when shelves have been cleared by holiday shopping) and in early summer and early fall. We recommend collecting food for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before donating.
III. Be specific on the type of food you would like to collect.
We strive to not just provide “any old” meals to our clients, but healthy food for the whole family! Different types of cereal and multiple sizes of baby diapers are two of our biggest needs. Items like canned vegetables and soups, whole grains, canned meats and fruits, veggie or meat broths, bagged beans, healthy granola bars, and baby food are also great options. Check out this resource from Access of West Michigan for more healthy food ideas!
Consider holding a themed food drive for specific types of meals. A spaghetti dinner drive could have a variety of pastas and sauces which are very popular items. A taco supper drive could contain taco shells, canned chicken, canned tomatoes, taco seasoning, and taco sauce. These items can be given away as whole supper kits to our families!
IV. Let people know about it!
This is key to making your Food Drive as effective as possible! Social media tools like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are great ways to let people know what you’re up to. Also consider asking your employer to post this opportunity in your office. We also recommend contacting groups you are a part of or businesses you frequent. What about asking your kid’s soccer team or your dentist office to collect food for Streams of Hope? And of course your church family is a great place to spread the word!
V. Store the food in a safe, dry place.
As you collect the food, please be sure to store it properly. Any fresh food should be donated immediately, while canned and nonperishable items do best in dry places at room temperature.
VI. Donate the food.
Bring the donations to our campus during our Food Center hours. We encourage you to call ahead so that we can assist with unloading and to be sure that we are ready for your arrival.
VII. Celebrate the win!
Anytime you donate food to the Food Center, you can be sure that it is put to good use! These meals go to local families – your neighbors. Thank you so much for choosing to serve your community in this way.