Before you decide whether to become a Neighborhood Coordinator, you probably have some questions. We’ve answered the most common ones below.
What does a Neighborhood Coordinator (NC) do?
It’s amazingly simple. You just organize a small group of neighbors to be Food Donors. Each donor gets a reusable Food Project bag to store food in. Every two months you pick up their full bag, leave them an empty one, and bring all the bags you collect to a drop-off point, where food bank representatives receive and sort it. You also send out a few reminders to your donors during the two months, so they don’t forget the pickup date. That’s all there is to it.
How much food will people donate?
We suggest that Donors buy one extra nonperishable food item each week when they go to the supermarket, but it’s really up to them. Some folks will donate a lot, some a little. The amount is not important—as long as they’re participating, the AFP is a success.
How much time does being an NC involve?
Only a few hours a month! You might need to put a little more time in at the beginning, when you’re building your neighborhood. But it’s a surprisingly small time commitment, considering how big a difference you’ll be making.
How do I pick the area that’s MY neighborhood?
Within some limits, your “neighborhood” is wherever you say it is, and it’s as big or small as you want it to be. It can be a few houses, a whole street, or several blocks. The most important thing is for you to feel comfortable with the area you pick. One of the benefits of being an NC is that you’ll wind up with a better sense of where you live and who your neighbors are. So pick an area that you want to know better. If you want, you can start small and expand your neighborhood over time.
How do I build a Neighborhood?
Two ways: 1) ask neighbors you already know to join the Food Project, and/or 2) canvass your neighborhood. Most NCs start by asking their nearby friends and acquaintances. When they’re ready, they start knocking on a few doors—which is a great way to get to know neighbors.
Of course, for some people canvassing can be a bit scary at first. So we’ve put together a comprehensive training package. We’ve got a script you can use, neighborhood maps, printed materials, an AFP badge, answers to FAQs, and a lot more. We’ll even do some canvassing in your neighborhood with you, if you want. When you’re done with training, you’ll have some neighborhood Food Donors signed up, plus a sense of success.
When is Pickup Day?
Our “official” pickup day is the 2nd Saturday of each even month (Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec). But the AFP is set up to give you as much freedom as possible. If you’ll be out of town on the official pickup day, or prefer to do it the week before or after, you can set your own date and work that out with your Food Donors. All we ask is that you keep us (and more important, your Donors) informed.
What happens on Pickup Day?
Each Food Donor puts their green food bag out by their front door. You pick up each bag, leave an empty one and a “Thank You” card (which we’ll supply), and take the food to the Ashland Emergency Food Bank, between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. If you deliver your food on our “official” pickup day, food bank volunteers will be there most of the day to accept, weigh, and sort it. If you take it on a different day, please drop off the donations a the Ashland Emergency Food Bank. When we get a total weight for the entire pickup, we’ll let you know so you can let your Food Donors know how much of an impact their work is having.
That’s it. As you meet more neighbors and other NCs, your sense of community will grow, and it will add as much to your life as you will be adding to others’ lives. It’s something to look forward to.