Starting Your Food Drive

A great way to double your impact is to combine your Food Drive with an Online Fundraiser! Set up your Team or Individual Fundraising Page, and you can completely customize it for your purposes. Your Page lets you add pictures, logos, and write out the details of your collection. This gives you a great online page that you can share with coworkers, family, and friends, that way people can help solve hunger even if they aren't physically there to donate a canned item!


If you are collecting ONLY FOOD, you can keep it offline and feel free to have fun collecting!


As you begin your food drive, taking pictures and sending updates is a great way to spread the good cheer. If you are looking for more Food Bank information to share, check out our Learn More & Resources page for great tidbits. 

Start Your Food Drive & Online Fundraiser

Register Now!

Most Needed Items

Click the button on the right to view and download your own Food Drive Poster. This poster lists the most commonly needed items at local food pantries, and you can print the posters to display throughout your food drive. 

Our Most Needed Items Include:

  • Fruits and Vegetables: Canned Fruit in Juice, Low Sodium Canned Vegetables)
  • Proteins: Dry Whole Beans, Lentils, Canned Chicken in Water, Canned Tuna in Water, All Natural Peanut Butter
  • Grains: Whole Grain Cereal, Oatmeal, Whole Grain Pastas, Brown Rice
  • Staples: Instant Breakfast Drink Mix (No Sugar Added), Low Sodium Pasta Sauces, Low Sodium Soups, Spices & Seasonings



We do not offer boxes or bags for your food drive. Please use boxes with a sturdy bottom that can be easily transported. 

Click To View & Download

Food Drive Poster

Customizable Version

Custom Food Drive Poster

Dropping Off Your Collection

When all the food is collected, you'll drop off the boxes at a Food Bank location or at member food pantry . The Food Bank has four Food Bank locations: Geneva, Park City, Joliet, & Rockford.


If you are not located near one of the four Center locations, you can use the Food Pantry Locator tool to find the nearest member pantries. It also provides the pantry's contact information, and you can then coordinate with them directly to drop-off the food donations.


If you are planning to drop off at one of the four Food Bank Centers, there are two drop-off options, depending on the size of your collection:


For small or medium size collections (up to 5 or 6 filled boxes), you can use the Contactless Food Drive Drop-Off at each Center. These designated drop-off areas are accessible during public business hours (typically Monday - Friday, 8 AM - 3 PM). Supporters can visit the Food Bank and deposit their food donation in the cart stationed near the entrance. There are donation receipts available if you would like to keep one for your records.


For large size collections (more than 6 boxes or what would easily fit in the cart), please contact us to coordinate a drop-off time so that we can assist you. Please provide at least a few days' notice when scheduling your drop-off time to allow us to coordinate the appointment with our warehouse staff.


Unfortunately the Food Bank cannot send a driver to pick-up most food donations during the Fall and Winter seasons, as our trucks have extra routes to deliver Holiday Meal Boxes to local pantries.

What is the difference between Northern Illinois Food Bank and a food pantry?

Northern Illinois Food Bank is a distribution hub to over 900 food pantries and feeding sites throughout the 13 counties we serve.  Hungry neighbors visit food pantries every day to receive the food they need. Pantries order food from the Food Bank to ensure that hungry neighbors are receiving a balance of items they need and have access to nutrition. 

Which is better to donate, food or funds?

Short answer: 

     Funds to Northern Illinois Food Bank

     Food to Food Pantries

Here's why...

When you donate a can of soup to the Food Bank, that can of soup is sent to a food pantry to be given to a hungry neighbor. BUT -  it takes resources (labor, time, & fuel) to get that can of soup to a food pantry and into the the hands of a hungry neighbor. Because that can of soup will end up being shipped to a food pantry after you donate it to the Food Bank, anyway, it is better to donate small food drives directly to a food pantry near you

It is better to donate funds to the Food Bank because we have buying power that allows us to do more with $1 than you might when you go to the store to purchase canned goods for a food drive. Every $1 donated to the Food Bank helps provide $8 in nutritious groceries for our neighbors in need!


Contact Molly Speckman at or 630-443-6910 ext. 196