CUMAC regularly feeds over 6,000 food insecure clients a month. In other words, it takes a lot of food to make sure we serve our community. Holding a food drive or special collection is a fun and rewarding way to ensure we can serve those who need it most. Collections can be held anywhere and they offer a chance to use your creativity and skills in a rewarding way.


How to hold a food drive or collection in 6 simple steps:

1. Let us know about your food drive

If you are considering or ready to hold a food drive or collection, please call or e-mail our office. CUMAC will help coordinate logistics of the drive. We can walk you through the process and answer any questions. Check out our Contact page to get started.

2. Determine a timeline for the food drive

Choose a deadline for your collection - the last day participants may drop off food, clothing, etc. You can count back from that day to determine an ideal start date, depending on how much time you want to allot for the collection. Set a timeline based on your own capacity. One or two weeks is generally an adequate amount of time to collect a large amount of food.

3. Advertise! Advertise! Advertise!

The most crucial element of a successful food drive or collection is simply ensuring that people know about it. If people know there is a food drive, they will bring the food. Once your timeline has been determined, get the word out right away. Consider sending out e-mails, creating flyers, and spreading the word through word-of-mouth and social media. 


CUMAC collected and distributed over 1.5 million pounds of food for those struggling with hunger last year. Every food drive or collection allows us to keep up with the growing need in our community. Thank you for your support! 

4. Start Collecting

Clearly mark the area(s) where you will be collecting to ensure that all donations are where they need to be. It would be a great help to us if you could collect food in paper or plastic grocery bags. This not only makes it easy to transport the food, but we can also then reuse the bags for distribution of food to our clients. There are times of the year when CUMAC is running low on specific foods or items. Check out our greatest needs here.

5. Arrange for pick-up or drop-off

Pick up: Our team is happy to pick up the proceeds of your food drive. We simply ask that you schedule an appointment with us, preferably a week in advance as our vehicles have very busy schedules. If you are considering a long-term food drive, we can schedule more than one pick-up. Drop-Off: You are also welcome to drop the food off at our Paterson warehouse so you can see our facilities and get an idea of how all your hard work will make an impact. Also, some groups who conduct food drives choose to volunteer in the warehouse the day they bring in the food. 

6. Food drives can be fun - get creative!

Make it a challenge! Set goals for yourself - perhaps a number of bags, or certain poundage of food. Offer incentives to your participants. A school group could have grade levels or classes compete against one another - whichever brings in the most food could be awarded anything from a pizza party to bragging rights. Consider a theme for your food drive. In need of some inspiration? Contact our office!