With the economy in it’s present state, there are many, many people in need. It is a tough, but rewarding undertaking. In addition to just feeding the hungry, you will be giving them hope that someone truly does care about them. If done in a deliberate and organized fashion, a feed the hungry program will not only be a blessing to those that you are feeding, but yourself and the volunteers also. If you feel a calling to start a program to feed the hungry, here are some steps that you can take to help you make it successful.
Step 1 – Identify the need
Scout out areas where you think that there will be people that will need your help. It might take some time to find the right spot, but you will know when you do. If you are in a downtown area, you can look for a place that is away from homeless shelters and missions. For whatever reason, there are many hungry/homeless that do not use the services of these shelters.
Step 2 – Identify your resources
You will not only need the food to feed people, but you will need people to help you feel them. An excited and dedicated group of volunteers is essential. There is so much work and planning that needs to be done, you cannot every have enough volunteers. In addition to food, you will also need tables, chairs and a storage area. Then there is the transportation needs. You will need to get your food, chairs, tables and volunteers to the site where you are going have your program. When accumulating resources, more is definitely better.
Step 3 – Find partners
If you are working through your church, try an partner with another church. If it is your business, look for another business. There is a lot of work involved and the more people involved the better. One thing that happens to many volunteer groups is that the leaders and the ones doing most of the work will get burned out. This type of program like most others adheres to the “80%, 20% rule” 80% of the work will be done by 20% of the people. This is unfortunate, but it is just the way that most group dynamics work out.
Step 4 – Identify a home base
You will need a place to store your equipment, to stage your food and many other things that will come up at time goes on. It will make life much easier and less stressful if you have a dedicated area that contains your equipment. If you do not have room, try asking some local businesses if you can use some of their warehouse space to store your equipment. You will be surprised to see how many businesses will be glad to help something like this. But you won’t know unless you ask. Organization is a priority for this undertaking. A central repository for supplies goes a long way toward making sure that things go smoothly.
Step 5 – Try it out on a small scale.
A program like this can be overwhelming. If possible, try your feeding program on a small scale. Maybe try a run-through at your church or with the organization that you are working with. This will help you work out any challenges before you go “live”.