Hunger in America
By Patty Liston
It is hard to believe that there are people — maybe even some of our own neighbors — who struggle to keep nutritious food on their tables. Economic times being what they are, more and more families are lining up at soup kitchens and food banks to supplement their meager pantries.
During this season of Thanksgiving, Hanukah and Christmas, when so many of our tables are laden with “enough and to spare”, maybe there is something that each of us can do to share a little of what we have.
Below are some ideas of ways we may be able to help those in need. Some are my own ideas, and some are from Redbook magazine. You may even come up with an idea of your own. We would love to hear from you. DVO is all about helping others whenever, and wherever we can.
1. Organize a food drive: They provide as much as one third of the food at pantries and it is so simple to start one. Moms Susan Romaine, 50, Christine Cotton, 45, and Debbie Horwitz, 46 created PORCH (People Offering Relief for Chapel Hill ) a monthly program to pick up canned goods that residents leave on their porches and bring them to local shelters. "It all started when the local food pantry I donate to said they needed canned chicken and tuna," Susan says. "We sent an email to about 30 neighbors and offered to pick up the goods from their porches, and it grew from there. No matter how busy people are, they're still able to contribute in a concrete way. Since we started last year, we've donated over $9,780 in canned goods!" To launch your own route, visit porchnc.org.
2. Host a school, church, or community bake sale, and donate the proceeds to the Great American Bake Sale. It benefits Share Our Strength, an organization working to ensure that no child in America goes hungry. Just $25 will help feed a child three meals a day for more than a month, and $100 provides 25 bags of food for toddlers.
3. Support your local food bank. Locate one between home and your grocery store at feedingamerica.org or strength.org, then make it a habit to buy a few extra items and drop them off on your way. Most-needed items include canned meat and fish, rice, pasta, soup, and personal items such as toothpaste and soap.
4. Tweet @KraftFightsHunger, "like" Kraft Foods on Facebook, or text the word meals and your zip code to 71717; Kraft will donate one meal to a food bank for each tweet, fan, and text.
5. Give a buck to feedingamerica.org, the nation's largest hunger relief charity, and they will provide seven meals to people in need.
6. Help a friend or neighbor by telling them to call 866-3HUNGRY. The National Hunger Hotline will connect them to food in their neighborhood and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
7. Download "One Day" by Toby Lightman on iTunes or amazon.com. All proceeds go to whyhunger.org, a group trying to end hunger on a grassroots level by offering job training and other services.
8. Pledge your support by signing the online petition at nokidhungry.org. You'll receive information about events in your community that help eradicate hunger, plus ways you can volunteer.
9. Browse thehungersite.com; every day you visit, the site will donate a cup of food to a hungry child.
10. Wear an "Imagine There's No Hunger" wristband, inspired by John Lennon. Buy 10 for $10 and you'll feed 10 children for a day. Visit whyhunger.org to pick them up for you, your kids, and friends.
11. Give a generous donation to your church/synagogue toward food baskets for needy families during the Christmas season and beyond.
12. Take your family to a soup kitchen and serve a meal. This is a great opportunity to teach our families about service and gratitude.
13. Put together a gift basket of food, or purchase a gift card from your local supermarket, and “pixie” a family whom you know to be struggling. Remember—don’t let them catch you!
14. Spread the word! Get on your Facebook page, or forward this article to those on your e-mail list and have them become a part of your “end hunger” cause. Imagine the rippling effect if everyone passed this message along!
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