Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I contact you?
- Is the BCTFD legitimate?
- Where does my donation go?
- Which types of food are most urgently needed?
- Is it safe to leave food on my front porch?
- Have you considered more environmentally-friendly alternatives to using plastic bags?
- BCTFD donation bags were not delivered in my neighborhood – can I still contribute to your project?
- We want to help, but we are unable to do collection routes. What else can we do?
- Is there a chance of theft or fraud?
How can I contact you?
General inquiries regarding our project can be made by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where does my donation go?
The items you leave on your step are gathered at a collection station and transported to the food bank which serves your community. Financial and large material contributions can be given to local food banks through our directed donation programs.
Though we do not accept cash donations along collection routes, you can still contribute to the BCTFD operational fund: such donations help pay for the materials and services we purchase each year to support our volunteers in communities around the province. Our major expenses include bags, flyers, and advertising. To learn more about donating to our project, please visit our Financial Contributions information page.
Which types of food are most urgently needed?
As we get closer to the date we will have a better understanding of what items are most needed for the food banks. Please check back later.
Is it safe to leave food on my front porch?
Yes, so long as you watch your step.
But seriously, we have encountered some questions about this practice. The first relates to theft, and whether you can be confident your donation will make its way to us. Our response is that, though we have yet to encounter any examples of this, it is possible someone who is not part of our team will take food from a doorstep. If someone does, it might be that he or she is suffering from the distress of not having enough to eat; we would aim to offer such a person compassion and forgiveness rather than resentment. If you suspect that someone is creating greater mischief by systematically stealing food for their own gain, please contact us through the office of the BCTFD Executive Director. In such cases we will work with you to determine an appropriate response, which may include contacting your local police department.
We have also received suggestions that this practice might draw unwanted attention from local wildlife. Again, though we have not yet received any specific complaints about this problem, we concede that it might happen, and encourage you to take steps to prevent it:
- Please do not put out anything other than non-perishable items in their original, unopened packaging, as these do not generally offer attraction for animals. We are not permitted in any case to forward perishable food such as meats or fresh produce to your local food bank; if we discover such items in donation bags at our collection stations, we have no choice but to discard them.
- Our flyers indicate that you should put your donation bag outside before 9:30 am on our Collection Day. If you have any concerns about wildlife in your area, we suggest you do this during the hour beforehand to minimize any risks. Please do not leave food on your doorstep overnight. Our volunteers begin collections shortly after 9:30 am so that food donations will only sit out for a brief period during daylight hours.
Have you considered more environmentally-friendly alternatives to using plastic bags?
Yes, yes, and yes again. And, as with so many other decisions, the question of using plastic comes down to a value judgement:
- Experience from similar food drives indicates that failing to provide some type of container for donations reduces return rates by more than 50%. This appears to be because bags attract far more attention in mail slots than flyers alone. Given this, we are committed to providing something more along our collection routes.
- Cardboard boxes are a wholly impractical alternative: they would create impossible bulk for our volunteers as they move through neighborhoods, and are not something we want to leave on the doorsteps of those who choose not to make donations. The logistical and financial challenge they represent is prohibitive.
- Paper bags – though they too have environmental costs – are a more ideal alternative and we are striving to develop partnership arrangements to help defray the costs of using paper versus plastic bags. However at 12 times the cost of plastic we still have most areas using plastic bags until partners in each part of the Province can be arranged to help defray the cost of paper bags
So long as we use plastic bags we will attempt to minimize their impact: we supply only one per address, and instruct our collection-site volunteers to gather up returned bags and reuse or deposit them with local recycling programs. Anyone with constructive suggestions about replacing our plastic bags is welcome to contact us: we hope, for example that local suppliers can be found to provide suitable paper bags at no charge in at least some of our communities.
BCTFD donation bags were not delivered in my neighborhood – can I still contribute?
Absolutely. Anyone wishing to donate food is welcome to stop by one of our gathering sites on Collection Day. Please contact your District Food Drive Chair for locations in your community. If you’re feeling really generous, you can even sign up to complete the collection route in your own neighborhood next year!
We want to help, but we are unable to do collection routes. What else can we do?
While our main focus is on doorstep-to-doorstep collection, the BCTFD welcomes partners using any ethical method of gathering food. We are currently working with several Community Partners who collect food through their own schools, churches, or places of business and then join us on Collection Day to sort and transport donations to local food banks. We are happy to expand this practice, and welcome any suggestion you might have about becoming a part of our event.
Is there a chance of theft or fraud?
There are, unfortunately, people who are willing to misrepresent the cause of hunger in order to defraud others. The most common forms of illegitimate food drive operations include groups which fail to operate according to common standards of transparency, refuse to conform to Revenue Canada’s “Non-Profit” regulations, or commit outright fraud by directing the cash donations they receive to unstated purposes. While these are rare occurrences, we are committed to operating in a way that protects the public from such risks.
Please be aware that BC Thanksgiving Food Drive volunteers will never solicit cash donations from you at your home. In order to avoid any confusion on this point, our volunteers are directed to refrain even from knocking on doors (we understand there may be exceptions where they are visiting the homes of friends or family). If you are concerned about the behaviour of anyone claiming to represent our project, we suggest that you politely disengage from them and contact us immediately through the office of the BCTFD Executive Director. We will work patiently to correct any honest mistakes on the part of our own volunteers; incidents involving persons not attached to our project will be referred to the FBBC and, where appropriate, your local police department.