Today, teens are becoming more involved in helping out their communities, whether it be increased volunteering hours or creating clubs and charities that aim to alleviate the stresses of community members that need help. This is an amazing feat and in this article, we are going to touch on some key areas where teens in high school can help their local food banks as volunteers and how they can also (in general) help their communities with dealing with food insecurity.
One of the most straightforward ways to engage with food banks and help their efforts is to contact a local food bank (using our locator on our website) and ask if there is a way you can become a volunteer. Food banks traditionally have always needed extra help with the operations behind running a food bank, and high school students often have time in their schedules to dedicate a couple of hours during the week or weekend to help out.
Creating a Food Drive
Creating a food drive is also one of the most impactful ways to support local food banks. We wrote an article titled “How to Organize a Canned Food Drive as a Teen” which has the full guide to creating a food drive of your own.
Often times, food drives are easy to put together and these days, students can take advantage of social media and community pages to spread awareness for their food drives. Thus, the food drive can generate lots of donations with easy marketing channels that teens interact with on a daily basis like Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, and Facebook.
Some key areas to pay attention to with creating a food drive is to have a very detailed plan that specifies the timeline of the food drive, where people should drop off donations, what donations are accepted, and where you will donate the food.
You can use our food bank locator on our website to find your nearest food bank to donate to.
Growing and Donating Produce
This might be a more creative way to help food banks. In some towns and cities, communities have local gardens with free patches of land where you can grow vegetables and other produce that can be donated to a local food bank. This is a great way to offer food banks with fresh produce that they can then freeze or offer to their patrons. Plus, high school students have a chance to collaborate with their friends or among others in their school with the gardening aspect of this option. This is definitely a great way to get teens outside and involved in nature!
Growing produce can also be achieved through growing plants in your own backyard through pots or small patches of land. We will be posting an article soon about the best ways to unlock the beauties of nature when growing produce for the purpose of donating it to a food bank, so keep on the lookout for that!
Another point that is worth mentioning is that some food banks won’t accept fresh produce due to the shelf life issue. So, make sure that your food bank that you want to donate to will accept fresh produce that is recently harvested before you start growing!
Launching High School Clubs
Students these days are always creating new clubs in their high schools, so what better way to help food banks then create a high school club that is focused on doing just that! We will publish another article regarding setting up a food bank related club in your high school, so stay on the lookout for that.
But for now, here are some ideas as to what that new high school club can do. First off, the club can act as a hub for regularly scheduled food drives. Perhaps you can use the club’s name and network to launch monthly food drives and have an organized way to collect the food and donate it. Also, since the club is school affiliated, you can host fundraisers like bake sales and donate the profits to local food banks to help them stock up on canned goods.
Clubs can also act as a networking tool. Once you are an organization, it will make it easier for other students to join you and your club and thus increase the amount of connections your club has to the community. This will make it easier for you to get the word out with regard to new food drives and fundraisers that rely on community support.
Similar to launching a new school club, launching school fundraisers with the purpose of donating the proceeds to a local food bank is a great way to give back to the community. We will publish a full how-to regarding fundraisers in the future, but some ideas to go off of include bake sales, having sports tournaments where admission fees go towards food bank donations, hosting a talent show, and maybe even partnering with local restaurants and asking them to donate towards your food bank.
Social Media Outreach
Teens these days are so savvy when it comes to using social media, so what better way to help a food bank than run their social media and drive awareness. This can be done in a similar fashion to direct volunteering, where you work directly with the food bank in order to boost their social media efforts. This job would include writing posts, managing different social media accounts across different platforms, running special promotional campaigns, and maybe even running online giveaways to promote the food bank.