When it comes to seriously cool grassroots efforts, Seattle can boast plenty. We are a community that takes its social commitments seriously. (Just ask the woman who crowd sourced funds from the 12th man to repair the Pioneer Square Pergola in less than 24 hours.) So when we find an easy bandwagon effort the whole fam can jump on, we just have to share. Say hello to the Food Driving Box program, a simply smart idea to increase food bank donations during the leanest month of the year—February. Read on to learn how to fill your hearts and drive away hunger.
Start Your Engines
The Food Driving Box story starts out the way so many innovations do. Accidentally. Seattle area mom, Jennifer Porter, and her kids had always donated to their local food bank. Twice monthly, they would gather items from their pantry, pack them up, and drive on over to make their contribution. Then one night after a gingerbread decorating event that included a small bankers box to carry the finished product, Jennifer realized something. She’d found the perfect-sized box to store in her car, making her bi-monthly donation gathering and transport that much easier. And that got her thinking. What if everyone had a food driving box in their car? That in-sight, in-mind mentality might make a serious difference. Working in conjunction with Solid Ground, and a Tukwila-area box maker, Jennifer turned out the first run of 1,000 boxes this summer. And so far her idea has proved to be a good one.
Down the Backstretch
Jennifer hopes to continue to make a difference, and step on the gas a little this February when food banks need it most, by encouraging red food donations that fill your heart (Hallmark style) and the box. Think red cans of Campbell’s soup and diced tomatoes, boxes of Ritz crackers and Minute Rice, and you’ve pretty much nailed it. And the best part is this is a kid-friendly effort that includes a little learning on the side. Math, reading, colors, sorting (can’t you just feel the teachers smiling right now?), all wrapped up with the bow of social responsibility. Not too bad for a trip to the store. Plus, it’s easy. All you need is a free food driving box (available at all 27 Seattle-area food bank locations), non-perishable red-themed food items (other colors are welcome, too), and a little bit of time to shop and drop your donation.
Cross the Finish Line
Jennifer would love for each box to be returned with 20 pounds of food. That would mean 20,000 pounds total when the month is over. The only question is, are you up for the challenge, Seattle?
Do you plan to pick up a Food Driving Box? Tell us about your experiences in a comment below:
Photos thanks to Jennifer Porter