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Food bank director says corporate food drives offer way to donate safely

FILE: Staff and volunteers with 'The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation', distribute food and other goods during its second Dodger Day Drive-Thru food bank for people facing economic hardship in Huntington Park, California on June 18, 2020. The Census Bureau said nearly 30 million Americans reported not having enough to eat in the week that ended July 21. In Utah, local food banks worry that will translate to a larger need this winter. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

PROVO— Utah’s giving spirit hasn’t gone away in the pandemic.  COVID-19 has, however, made it harder to hold food drives.

Karen McCandless, Executive Director of  Community Action Services and Food Bank (CASFB) in Provo, says COVID-19 cancelled two of their big food drives this year. In 2019, those two events alone added 188,000 pounds of food to the food bank. 

Now, with the holidays approaching, CASFB is gearing up for what McCandless says is a usual 25% increase in demand for food. 

McCandless knows traditional holiday food drives which involve mass drop-offs at a singular place are out this year.  But she thinks a corporate twist on the tradition could take their place.

How business food drives can help bridge the gap 

When McCandless says “corporate,” she means all businesses big or small. 

“A business-led food drive where employees are competing against each other to drive up donations can be very effective.  And there is no need for a massive drop off point (which could spread infection.)  Food can be quarantined for a few days before (we pick it up,)” McCandless said. 

She says the food bank quarantines all donated food before it’s sorted and distributed. 

McCandless says to learn more about how to host a food or fund drive, visit CASFB’s website. Also, see  Tips for Food Drive Success for more helpful details.