Food drives have always been a part of food banking since the beginning. Everyone loves making a difference when they donate their canned, non-perishable food items to help feed families who are struggling. But with the arrival of COVID-19 last year and new protocols to prevent the spread of the virus, the East Texas Food Bank had to make the tough decision to temporarily suspend our community food drives.
Our solution was to introduce Virtual Food Drives. These online pages are a great way to still donate food to the East Texas Food Bank by making monetary gifts. These food drives have proven to be very popular, with over 546,000 meals raised so far “virtually”.
We recently spoke with one of our virtual food drive organizers, Brett Noteware, about his virtual food drive experience..
ETFB: Brett, how did you learn about our Virtual Food Drives?
Brett: The pandemic has adversely impacted many people in our area. My awareness of food scarcity was heightened by a photo I saw of cars lined up to get food at a distribution in Dallas. I then heard about a volunteer event at the East Texas Food Bank sponsored by my employer, CHRISTUS Health. I wanted to participate in that, but decided not to due to the risk of contracting COVID-19. So instead, I contacted the food bank and learned about Virtual Food Drives and thought it would be a great idea.
ETFB: Why did you decide to host a VFD?
Brett: To help those in need that have been impacted by the pandemic. This also aligns with the values of CHRISTUS Health, who thankfully I am still able to work for during the pandemic.
ETFB: Tell us about your specific drive. What made is special?
Brett: I did the virtual food drive as part of my birthday celebration. The pandemic caused me to reassess my life and develop a new appreciation and gratitude for my station in it. I realized that I would have a better birthday by focusing on those in need instead of myself. Since large gatherings were not an option, I did a “gumbo-to-go” event in which my wife and I made gumbo, homemade rolls and bread pudding. We gave it away and asked for donations for the East Texas Food Bank in return. We ended up raising over $1,000 which was amazing and surprising to say the least!
ETFB: Would you encourage someone to hose a virtual food drive for the East Texas Food Bank?
Brett: Absolutely! The process for setting it up was extremely easy. The staff at the East Texas Food Bank do all of the work, you just provide some basic information to them. It was a very rewarding experience and I am hopeful to do another one in the future.
To learn more about our Virtual Food Drives and how you, your organization or business can make a difference, click here.