Even if you’ve decided there isn’t enough time to plan an Adjunct Food Drive before Thanksgiving of 2016, there are other upcoming holidays and there’s always next year. Food drives can be valuable, not only for the people they feed, because they provide an opportunity for the following:
- Develop community involvement
- Raise awareness
- Gain press attention
- Educate those outside academia
So, think about the other opportunities for a food drive in the coming year … winter holidays, Valentine’s Day, maybe even Mardi Gras.
Should you pursue a Food Drive, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.
- Form your team. Make sure you have at least a couple collaborators to share responsibilities.
- Decide on a date and specific hours for collection. And, have a back-up plan in case of bad weather.
- Find a place for the drop-off.
- Figure out where you can store the food and prepare it for distribution. You’ll also want to think about gathering boxes or bags.
- Promotion (see separate section below)
- Make and distribute flyers, posters, etc.
- Recruit volunteers for the day of the event. You’ll want folks collecting and organizing food plus you’ll want someone ready to talk to administrators, press, etc. An additional suggestion … Find a way to make it fun. Gather artists, musicians, dancers … folks who’ll give a carnival feel to the event and draw attention to it.
- Make signage for the event. Make sure people can see what the event is and where it’s taking place.
- Create thank you notes for donors.
- Sort food.
- Distribute food …pictures are important.
- Send thank you notes to your volunteers.
- Follow up with the press – send pictures from food sorting and distribution.
More on Publicity …
Gathering food for adjuncts in need is at the heart of this food drive, but there’s another purpose for planning an event such as this … publicity for the cause. Anything that gets the attention of the press and public that drives attention to the issues adjunct and students face in higher education is important.
- When creating print collateral (flyers or posters) or press releases, be sure to include statistics: Make sure people know that adjuncts make up over 70% of higher education faculty and that the percentage is growing.
- Include the fact 1 in 5 adjuncts live below the poverty line while facing student loan debt and trying to support families.
- Make sure people know that 25% of adjunct faculty depend on some sort of public assistance to get by.
Contact your local media. The newspaper, television and radio are great. Don’t forget local bloggers or podcasters and the school paper. Send press releases to national media as well. If NPR, CBS, MSNBC, Democracy Now, VICE and other media outlets get multiple releases from multiple schools, they’ll start to take notice.
Contact organizations who are already in place to support adjuncts. Get to know both national and state / local organizations that stand with you and might offer some form of support, even if it’s just a Tweet or some advice. New Faculty Majority, Faculty Forward, PrecariCorps, SEIU, Fight for 15 … we have a lot of brothers and sisters in the trenches and need to take time to communicate with them and find ways to help each other.
The bottom line for a Food Drive or any act of activism is to stand up for current and future adjuncts and, but doing so, to improve higher education for everyone. We won’t move forward if we’re afraid to step up or to ask for help. Together, however, we stand strong and can make a difference.
Your ideas and experience are always welcome. Make this a conversation by commenting, reblogging, and talking on social media.
And THANK YOU to all adjunct professors!