For my PR Writing courses at Montclair State University, I group my students up and pair them with nonprofit organizations so that they can gain some real experience in developing communications strategies and working with media -- all the while supporting some great causes.
One of the organizations we are working with this semester is Community FoodBank of New Jersey.With Thanksgiving only two weeks away, you can imagine that the project for Community FoodBank of New Jersey is in full swing. We're currently promoting the organization's annual Turkey Drive, which will take place on 11/20 and 11/21 at 40 locations throughout the state.
In addition to helping promote these events locally, they are also holding a huge drive on campus and promoting the organization's virtual drive as well. This is a really cool option that enables people out-of-state or who can't make it to a donation event to help out.
The whole class has really come together to make a difference for this organization and the three students dedicated to this project were able to secure a fabulous article about their drive in The Montclarion, which is the student paper. The rest of the class is working this weekend to distribute posters and flyers in the towns where the donation events will take place in an effort to jump-start grassroots awareness.
While holiday food drives that will help provide hot, nutritious meals for families are a familiar part of the season's activities, we should also keep in mind that it's not only people that are in need right now. Pets, too, are feeling the strain on the economy, since if people are having trouble feeding their families, of course they'd be having issues feeding their pets.
If you routinely donate supplies to the local animal shelters, kudos for the help you're giving to homeless animals in your area. You should also look into providing pet food to a food pantry that accepts these types of donations, as well. This can help prevent those who are struggling financially from having to give up their pet because they can't afford to feed them anymore.
Also look into pet food banks in your area. In North Jersey, some animal hospitals serve as a pet food bank, where people can drop off food for cats, dogs, and other household pets. The supplies are then distributed by a local Meals on Wheels program.
The next time you're thinking about what to donate to the local food drive, consider adding a bag of kibble or a case of canned food to your list. Save Our Pets Food Bank provides a listing of pet food banks nationwide. If your area isn't included, check with your local food pantry about donating some pet food. They may think you're crazy at first, but if you explain why you want to donate the food, they're likely to understand.