Did you know that Feeding America’s network of food banks serves 37 million Americans every year? Or that the number of children served by the Feeding America network has increased by 50% since 2006? The statistics are sobering: 1 in 6 Americans are at risk for hunger. Food insecurity is an issue year-round, but is particularly heart-wrenching through the holiday season, as many individuals are unable to provide enough food or perhaps any food at all for themselves and their families. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this year take the time to focus on ways you can give back to your local community, and to the people who need it the most.
- Donate money or food to local food banks and shelters. Go through your cupboards and put a bag or box together of shelf-stable foods that would make valuable donations. Find your local food banks here, and see the bottom of this post for a list of what food banks are especially in need of.
- Donate your time by helping to prepare and/or serve a holiday meal at a local shelter. Although the holidays are busy, see if you can find the time to volunteer with a shelter or soup kitchen, as they are always appreciative of the help.
- Organize a food drive at work or school. If you’re having a holiday work party, speak to the organizers to see if they can request that everyone bring a canned good in order to attend, then gather up the donations and drop them off at your local food bank. Or, if you are in high school or university and plan events for other students, consider adding to posters that students must bring a food bank donation in order to attend. Both are easy ways for us all to give more to those who might really need it.
- Make someone’s holiday a little more special. Know someone who is single or widowed? What about a college or university student who is far from home? If you know someone who would otherwise spend the holiday alone, invite them to join you and your family for the holiday dinner. Setting that one extra plate at the table could really mean the world to someone who might have missed out on spending the holiday mealtime with a family.
Valuable Food Bank Donations:
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- canned fruit and vegetables
- peanut butter
- infant formula and baby food
- canned meats and fish
- dry and canned soups and stews
- breakfast cereal
- canned or powdered milk
- beans and legumes
- pasta sauces
Assistance provided by Megan Skinner