My Virtual Food Drive Experience

vfdOver the past four years, I have had the chance to meet and get to know some pretty great people through our Virtual Food Drive. For them, this tool is an easy and interactive way to raise money toward ending hunger in their community, provides a great representation of how far their monetary donations can really go, and fun to use.

At Second Harvest Food Bank, we are able to turn any $1 donation into $9 in grocery value. The food bank’s incredibly efficient distribution model gives every dollar donated exponentially more power over what you could buy in a store, giving even the smallest donation an impact on hunger. The virtual food drive shopping cart helps provide an illustrative representation of this. For example, a $7 donation has the potential to provide 288 tomatoes, or a $12 donation to provide 45 pounds of cheese! 

As the word has gotten out about our Virtual Food Drive, people, organizations, and businesses have been taking notice, and taking on their own virtual drives as a way to make a bigger impact over or in conjunction with a traditional food drive. Along the way, I have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people and the businesses they represent. I always love seeing those same groups come back again every year, eager to beat previous records and bring in even more relief for local kids, families, and seniors in the Central Florida community.

Organizations like Lockheed Martin have been on board with running a Virtual Food Drive, since its inception. Each year, and each campaign, I get to meet new and returning participants. Over the summer months, different departments come together for their M.E.N.U. campaign (Mission: Engage, Nourish, Unite), and set up teams to compete among each other to see who can fund raise the most amount. They pair it with a slew of other activities among their campaign, such as a traditional food drivevolunteering, and fundraising events such as golf tournaments and raffles. Over this year’s summer campaign, they smashed previous records by raising $28,444.74 between their three teams!

Leading up to their Red Day event on May 12, 2016, Keller Williams prepared for their annual day of service by running a Virtual Food Drive to raise funds to help feed kids over the summer month. Between collecting canned and nonperishable food items for their food drive, and volunteering throughout their community, they raised a total of $4,399! They had great momentum throughout their entire Virtual Food Drive, and even inspired other organizations like Lockheed Martin to push even harder toward their goals because of it!

If you think running a Virtual Food Drive could be a fun thing to do in the office, here is a great example of ways to get people involved. Hitachi Consulting has been running a Summer Hope for Kids Virtual Food Drive for the past three years, and something fun that they do is provide incentives for people who donate. If employees help raise a certain level, they get the chance to dunk their boss in a dunk tank, and who doesn’t want to do that sometimes? Another organization, InCharge, offers raffle entries for those who donate, and run a companywide contest between different departments to see who can raise the most and take home a trophy of bragging rights.

I’ve learned that you don’t have to be a big organization to raise a lot of money, and that even individuals who just want to do good can make a huge impact. That running a Virtual Food Drive is a great way for an organization to come together for a great cause, and have fun doing it. That there are so many kindheartedpassionate people in Central Florida who want to end hunger, and want to be active in that pursuit. And I’ve learned that it’s because of these people I love what I do even more.

Currently, participants have raised $40,571.74 in the summer campaign to help feed kids over the summer break – a time when they lose access to the meals that school provided. If you think running a virtual food drive would be a great activity for your organization to participate, you can join our Summer Hope for Kids campaign at to learn more or feel free to reach out to me! I am happy to talk more about this great tool and provide any help or resources I can to get you on your way. Together, let’s hit $50,000 raised this summer, and bring in 200,000 much needed meals for kids and their family this summer. Thank you for all that you do!


Melissa Kear
Online Marketing Coordinator

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