What is a food drive?

A food drive is an organized effort by an individual or group to collect food items for those who face hunger in the community.

Who can host a food drive?

Anyone can host a food drive! Individuals, corporations, religious organizations, schools, clubs, neighborhoods and any other groups are welcome to host their own food drive.

How do I get started?

First, we ask that you fill out our registration form. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER YOUR FOOD DRIVE. You should receive a confirmation email within 72 hours.

Can I host a food drive anytime?

Absolutely – people face hunger every day of the year. Although many food drives take place during the holidays, we encourage groups to host food drives throughout the year in order to keep our warehouse shelves well-stocked.

Can I borrow the Food Bank’s barrels to collect my food?

Yes – the Food Bank will provide our famous red donation barrels, which we can be dropped off at your location at the beginning of your food drive and picked up at the end. Our food drive barrels are 3 ft. tall x 2 ft. wide and can hold up to 200 pounds of donated food items.  We also offer small cardboard boxes (18 in. x 12 in. x 20 in.) that can hold up to 30 pounds of food.

You are welcome to pick up these items directly from our warehouse yourself. You will be asked to indicate your preferences when you fill out the online food drive registration form.

Is the barrel delivery and pickup service free?


How big are the barrels?

Our red food donation barrels are about 3 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide, and can hold up to 200 pounds of nonperishable food.

Can I use my own boxes for food donations?

Yes, you may use your own boxes in lieu of our red barrels. Our goal is to make your food drive as easy and convenient for you as possible.

How do I schedule a pick-up?

Your pickup will be scheduled immediately after registration, and you will receive this date in your confirmation email. If your barrels become full during your food drive and you want to schedule an additional pickup, please contact the Food Bank and we will stop by on our next available pickup time.

How long should my food drive last?

The Food Bank has no restrictions on how long or short your food drive should last, but two weeks is a good place to start. This will allow your group to reach your goal without getting burnt out.

Can I drop off food donations at your warehouse?

Yes! Instead of using our pickup service, you may drop off the food yourself. Stop by the Food Bank anytime Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 12 noon or 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Our address is 9850 Distribution Ave., Dock 0, San Diego, CA 92121.

What items should people donate?

The Food Bank always needs a variety of nonperishable goods, such as canned tuna, canned chicken, canned fruit, peanut butter, beans and cereal. For the complete list, please see our Most Needed Food Items List. Due to safety regulations, we cannot accept home-made goods, glass jars or alcohol of any kind.

Do you accept household products and non-food items?

Yes, we also accept household cleaners, pet food, baby diapers and hygienic products. Please keep all non-food items separated from food items.

Can people donate money instead of food?

Absolutely. For every dollar donated, the Food Bank can purchase the equivalent of 2 meals. CLICK HERE to donate!

Will you tell us how much food we donated?

Yes, the Food Bank weighs everything that comes in and out of our warehouse, so once your food drive is over, we will weigh all of the donations and let you know how much food you raised.

Have more questions? Please email the Food Bank’s Food Procurement Team, here.