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Food Drives on Campus

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Stanford's resources and facilities are dedicated to the support of the university's mission of the creation, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge. Likewise, the university's events must be dedicated to these purposes and not for the personal gain of individuals or for the use of outside parties that do not further Stanford's academic objectives.


University departments and registered student groups are permitted to sponsor food drives on an occasional basis, upon review and approval by Office of Special Events & Protocol (OSEP), Office of Student Engagement (OSE) (for registered student groups) with additional review by the University Events Policy Committee (UEPC) if necessary. 

The Stanford department or registered student group sponsor must ensure that the specific terms and limitations of the food drive be outlined in a written agreement with the beneficiary, i.e., food bank. The department or student group event organizer must forward a copy of this signed agreement to the Executive Director of OSEP for its records.

Process and procedures

  • An individual food drive may not last more than two (2) weeks (i.e., food and collection boxes and bins may not remain at collection locations for more than two weeks).
  • Research and select a reputable 501(c)(3) food bank or other charitable organization in the area before committing to the event.
  • Designate responsible person(s) in the Stanford Event Organizer(s) who will be in charge of the event and the various items related to its success.
  • Designated person(s) would also be noted as main contact(s) should there be questions from the campus or outlying communities during the food drive.
  • Confirm with the food bank, using a written agreement, that outlines responsibilities and related arrangements so all is understood and agreed.
  • Contact the food bank’s representative about its ability to provide bins/containers for the event. If they do not provide containers, then the Stanford Event Organizer must arrange to provide something reasonable and suitable for this purpose. 
  • Arrange transportation of items with the designated food bank. As part of the agreement, incorporate a process that arranges for drop off of items at the food bank’s warehouse when the donation bins are full and/or the food drive has ended. This will include determining whether the food bank will pick up the food or the Stanford group will drop it off.


  • Be specific when promoting the event. Include the name and some general information about the food bank for the benefit of those donating items during the food drive. 
  • Determine whether to utilize websites, email, Facebook, flyers, posters, etc., for promotion of the food drive.
  • Information should include:
    • Start date and times for food donations (for example, before a sporting event)
    • End date of food drive
    • Locations of bins/containers
    • What item(s) can be donated
    • TheStanford Event Organizer's contact information

Acceptable and not acceptable food items for donation (confirm with food bank)


NOT Acceptable

Canned meats

Fresh meats

Canned vegetables

Fresh vegtables

Canned fruit

Fresh fruit

Canned soup

Fresh fruit juices

Canned tomato products

Fresh fish

Cereals in sealed boxes or bags


Peanut butter

Other perishable items that have a short lifespan





Other fundraising rules

  • Collection of cash or checks on campus grounds/venues as part of the food drive is prohibited.
  • Instead, provide a website address on promotional materials and donation bins, for those who may wish to follow up with a financial donation directly to the food bank.

Drop-off/collection areas

  • Sanitary and health considerations must be taken into account when placing any food collection bins/containers in their identified areas for donations. 
  • Please also note when placing bins:
    • The presence of containers must not overwhelm any venue, outside space or event
    • Must not block doorways or exits
    • Must not block designated pathways or areas where wheelchair access might be needed/expected
    • Should not be kept outside
    • Must be regularly checked during the drive and their interiors well-maintained (e.g., the bin cleaned if needed and broken packages removed)
  • The immediate areas around the bins need to be kept clean so that any loose food does not sit in the immediate area, which may ultimately draw insects and/or rodents (especially items such as loose rice or grains).

How to apply for approval

Because each event may require logistical review and/or have special circumstances, all requests to engage in food drive activities on the Stanford University campus must be submitted in writing to:

Schools, departments, institutes and labs

Contact OSEP

Student groups

Registered student groups requesting a food drive event will have their proposals reviewed for approval by OSE in consultation with the OSEP. Athletics teams should consult with the Athletics department.

Additional information to all interested departments and student groups

A limited number of drives will be approved for each quarter and at the discretion of UEPC. 

Notwithstanding approval of the food drive, the university reserves the right to terminate the food drive earlier than its scheduled conclusion for any reason including, but not limited to: 

  • Unattended food drive boxes that draw pests, generally create an unsightly presence, and/or cause potential health issues as the items get old and are left sitting.
  • Collection bins that are not regularly maintained and/or are left at their designated sites longer than two weeks may jeopardize the group or department’s ability to hold future food drives.
  • This policy may be subject to further periodic review and revisions by UEPC and the university reserves the right to withdraw approval for these types of events if it is determined that they are not appropriately managed, causing liability and unnecessary risk to the university.