Frequently asked questions

Thank you for finding out more about providing tangible support when people need it most in our community. To get you started, here are some questions you may be asking.

Should you have any further queries, please email FoodForFamilies@vt.uniting.org or call our Community Fundraising Team on 1800 060 543.

1. What is Food For Families?

Food For Families is a campaign to raise 70 tonnes of non-perishable food for families in crisis.

Food for Families is in its 27th year. The campaign was started by Leader newspaper, then Wesley Mission Victorian took the lead with the aim of generating more material aid to support increasing demand on services, but no increases in funding.

Getting involved is a great way to get people together and give back to the community.

2. Where does the donated food go?

All food donated goes directly to people in crisis, by way of food hampers. Families can select food from our food pantry when times get touch and bills stack up. We also provide food that’s easy to prepare to people who are homeless, sleeping rough or living in their car.

The food, gifts and household essentials are distributed at our emergency relief, family services and outreach centres across Victoria and Tasmania.

Providing material aid isn’t all we offer, people and families can access a range of other supports such as financial counselling, no-interest loans, case management, housing support and family violence services.

40,000 families will reach out to us this year.

3. How much food are you collecting?

This Christmas our goal is to raise 70 tonnes of non-perishable food, that’s 3666 boxes which will feed 7000 families. Last year we raised 40 tonnes of food, but it wasn't enough to meet the growing demand. By July our pantries were getting low.

With your support, no one gets turned away.

4. How can I get involved?

There are a number of ways to get involved. Donate non-perishable food to a location near you, host your own collection, or become a drop-off point:

  1. Register to collect food as a workplace, school or kinder, community group, your church, sporting club – anywhere where people come together
  2. Register with your family, or as an individual
  3. Register as a drop-off point – as a business, school, kinder, church etc you can register as a Drop Off Point for your local community to drop off their food collections with you.
5. What’s involved in being a drop-off point?

By becoming a drop-off point, more individuals can get involved. People that want to get involved have a convient way to donate. We will:

  • Provide you with Food For Families boxes to collect the food, and posters and other resources to help manage the collection.
  • Include your location, with address, contact details and opening hours on our website
  • Arrange to pick up your filled boxes.
  • Be ready to answer any queries you may have along the way
6. I’m having difficulty registering. Can you help me?

We’re here to help, so please get in touch:

7. What happens after I have registered?

You’ll receive a confirmation email which will include links to resources and other information.

Schools, Kinders and Childcare Centres Workplaces, Community groups and Congregations:

You will usually receive your boxes within 7 days. But no need to wait – use the online resources to start your collection, and start filling your own boxes to begin with. The sooner we can receive your food the better.

Families and individuals:

Please use your own bags and boxes to collect food. Please ensure the boxes are sturdy and ideally have a lid or can close. Please ensure they weigh no more than 15 kgs.

8. How big are the Food For Families boxes?

The Food For Families boxes are a little bigger than an archive box. They are 50cm (L) x 31cm (W) x 29cm (D). They can hold up to 15kg maximum. Please be sure to evenly distribute the weight of your collection, for example, mix up heavier and lighter items for safe handling.

You’ll receive tips on safe packing of boxes and safe handling so you stay safe, or check it out on the resources link.

9. What kind of food can I collect?

We need donations of non-perishable items, toiletries and household essentials. Examples include:

  • Tinned and ready to eat meals
  • Pasta and pasta sauce
  • Instant noodles in a cup/bowl
  • Sandwich spreads
  • Breakfast cereals, muesli bars, breakfast bars
  • Spaghetti and baked beans
  • UHT milk, tea bags, coffee, milo, biscuits
  • Baby food, nappies
  • Tooth brushes, tooth paste, shampoo/conditioner
  • Deodorant, Sunscreen, feminine hygiene products

We can’t accept:

  • Donations of perishable food like frozen meals
  • Food that is past or close to their use by date (i.e. within three months)
  • Opened jars or other partially used food

If you receive donations of fresh, open, or out-of date food, we ask that you dispose of them responsibly before passing you collection on to us.

Download a printable version of our shopping list

10. Can I donate gifts?

Yes, we accept gifts, and they are extremely appreciated by the families that we support. Families greatly appreciate gift vouchers for stores like JbHifi, EB Games etc, so parents can choose what goes under the tree. You can give larger gifts through our partnership with Target.

11. Any tips of creating a big collection?

There are many ways to build a big collection. You could:

  • Share amongst your friends and family or across your workplace
  • Ask people to bring food when they come to your Christmas party
  • Ask colleagues to donate food instead of your office Kris Kringle
  • Have a ‘reverse Advent Calendar’ – add a different item each day to your collection
  • Set food/menu challenges between departments or classes
12. Do you have any material available to help me promote Food For Families?

We have a number of resources to help you promote your Food For Families collection, including posters and shopping list flyers. If you are a school, workplace, community group or church, you will receive this kit with your boxes.

Additional downloadable resources can be found using the link in your Food For Families welcome email.

Don’t forget social media. Please use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn as much as you can to showcase your Food For Families collection and ideas, and don’t forget to add #FoodForFamilies

13. My boxes are nearly full. How do I arrange a pick-up?

You can drop off your collection at any time. Refer to the website to easily search for your nearest Drop Off Point nearest drop-off point

If you're a school, community group, congregation or workplace we will send you a link to request a box pick up in early December. Watch your email inbox!

If you're an individual or family with a large donation and can't get to a drop-off point, please contact us for assistance.

14. What if I run out of boxes?

Please use your own bags and boxes to collect any extra food. Please ensure the boxes are sturdy and ideally have a lid or can close.

Email FoodForFamilies@vt.uniting.org or call 1800 060 243 if you’re unsure.

 

15. What is the deadline for my collection?

For schools and community groups the latest date we will pick up your filled boxes will be Wednesday 19 December to ensure we get food sorted before the Christmas break.

For workplaces the latest date we will pick up your filled boxes will be Wednesday 8 of January.

You can drop your donations at any time to a Uniting location throughout the campaign, until the second week of January.

But we really appreciate food as early as possible, so remember you can drop off your collection at any time.

Important: we will also be picking up food in the New Year. We will be in touch to ensure everyone has a pick up date, in December or January.

16. What if I’m still collecting food close to Christmas?

Don’t worry, we can arrange a pick up in early January. In fact family celebrations over Christmas and New Year often result in lots of excess food! Why not add these to your collection?

17. I need food/gifts for myself, my family. Where can I go?

We understand that not everyone can afford to donate to others this Christmas. We’re sorry to hear about your situation. Please call (03) 9192 8100 for advice on how and where you can find services to assist you.

18. I don’t want to collect food. How can I make a donation or raise money?

To donate, please call 1800 668 426 or visit donate on our website