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Kevin Kuo is a second-year Mathematics major at UCLA and a Social Media and Marketing Intern with th...

Volunteer List: Four Tips to Support a Successful Food Drive

December 1st, 2011

Kevin Kuo is a second-year Mathematics major at UCLA and a Social Media and Marketing Intern with the UCLA Volunteer Center. Here is his list of tips for supporting food drives:

Happy holidays! We hope you all enjoyed your homemade and delicious turkey with your families and friends on the Thanksgiving Day. With the holiday season kicking off, we want to remind you that there are students and people in need who will greatly appreciate your help— now. Do you want to make your holiday season more memorable? Then it is time to participate in a food drive so that people in need can enjoy their holidays as well!

UCLA Volunteer Center would like to invite you to engage in/ support a food drive and reach out to people and students in need of food. Here are some tips to support a successful food drive right now (it might cost you $0!):

1. Check out the list of food items that your particular food drive coordinator requested.

This can be simply done by giving a few clicks on the Web. (Isn’t it easy?)

Every year, UCLA holds a food drive for both the UCLA Food Closet and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. This year, the food drive runs until December 14, 2011. You can find the items that UCLA Food Closet and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank at the following link: Requested food items.

2. Plan it out.

If you are rather interested in starting your own food drive, you can plan out the period of time that you will be collecting non-perishable food, the types of food items you will be giving, and perhaps the amount (in pounds) that you will collect. Planning for the food drive not only gives you a clear outline of what you will be doing, it also sets a goal for yourself that you should be aiming for.

3. Look for food!

If you are wondering where you can find the food items to collect, you might stop hesitating after reading this tip. Think about these:

• Did you/ your family spend too much money on food materials just for preparing the Thanksgiving dinner?
• Did you have leftover food items that you did not finish after cooking a big meal?
• Did you accidentally purchase too much food because they were on sale?
• Did somebody else give you canned goods as gifts but you did not ever use them?
• Did you buy crackers in family-size that you cannot finish them?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you probably are ready to put them into your food drive basket! That is, you do not need to spend any extra money to fill up your food drive box. Just go around your house, and you can probably find them easily. Open all the cabinets in your kitchen room— you might be surprised how much food you can donate.

A lot of people usually stocked up food in their cabinets (such as canned fruits, granola bars, cup-of-noodles…etc.) and yet forgot about having them after a while. Open your cabinets and check their expiration dates. If they are still good to eat, you might as well consider giving them to people in need rather than keeping them in the dark cabinets and letting them go expired, right?

4. Gather your friends.

To develop and extend the food drive that you are participating, spread the words to your friends. We encourage you to influence the people around you and make them aware of the opportunity to help out. There is never too much food to donate— so why not gather your friends and tell them to also look for food at their houses (perhaps also in their cabinets)? You and your friends can eventually put together a collection of all the food items and help save people!

So these are the 4 tips for you to start your own food drive. Let us make the holiday season more enjoyable to more people in the community by banding together to help those in need!

Remember, supporting a successful food drive is just one of many ways you can help and make the community better— what are your favorite team volunteer activities and holiday volunteering?

Do you have an amazing volunteer experience to share with us? We’d love to post them on our blog! Please send a write-up of your experience and any additional photos or videos to

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