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Volunteer Journal #62 – Canned Food Drive

Okay Okay Okay Okay Okay.  I can admit when things don’t go according to plan. I organized a Food Drive in Beverly Hills. We did get donations, don’t get me wrong, but for Beverly Hills… the turnout was lackluster.  Here’s what went right and wrong.

Location, Location, Uggg Cliched Location

Throwing the Food Drive in Beverly Hills seemed to be a stroke of genius.  I partnered with a prestigious family owned spa named Verabella located right in the center of the Golden Triangle (two blocks off Rodeo on Canon for thse out of towners).  Owners Vera and Victoria were virtual angels and even agreed to give free product to everyone who brought in cans.  The problem was that the spa, tucked inside an office building, is an ideal hiding spot for celebs because it doesn’t get much foot traffic. With little foot traffic, and food drive visibility, our monstrous donations box was overlooked.

Publicity

This I did right and wrong.  What I did right – I got the food drive up on VolunteerMatch.org and in The Beverly Hills Courier a week before it ended.  What I did wrong – it should have gone up two weeks before the food drive ended. When throwing a donation drive of any kind the good people at VolunteerMatch have your back.  Also always contact your small local papers – they are usually more than happy to post your event.  Big thumbs up to Breton at the Courier for getting my press release up on the website and in the paper so fast – we definitely got donations because of you.

The Box

It always comes down to the box doesn’t it. Something so stupid and it made a huge difference!  At my gym they are doing a food drive for the LA Food Bank.  The LA Food Bank provided these big ugly boxes with a bright yellow design that says Donate Food in huge letters that any blind person can see on across the top. The box was placed in the gym’s high traffic lobby and they’ve received truck loads of food. We had to make our Food Drive box. I hate designing or decorating anything okay – you should see my sparse apartment.  I’m a words girl so the box was ugly. I wish I had a picture but it broke the camera.  Lesson learned.  Stay away from box design.

Neighborhood Engagement

This one is not my bad.  I walked around with my model friend Dana passing out flyers for the food drive to local businesses.  I figured it was best to bring a model along because no one tells a model no. Ever. About half the stores were lovely, getting excited and promising to put it up on their bulletin board.  The other half looked at me like I had a goiter. They did the same to Dana so lack of cuteness wasn’t a factor. Yes, the flyer might have been a bit wordy, but seriously, it’s a can of food!  It costs 50 cents! You have to walk two blocks to drop it off!  There are worse things in life… LIKE BEING HUNGRY IN THE WINTER.

In Conclusion

I hope the lessons I learned from my Thanksgiving Food Drive help you throw a more successful food drive either this Holiday Season or the next.  The bags of food collected at Verabella was donated to The Midnight Mission in Downtown Los Angeles (one of my favorite charities) which offers a bridge to self-sufficiency for the homeless in the LA area.  They operate without government funding and help those in need without sermonizing.

Happy Holidays Darlings!

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