Food represents warmth, comfort and caring. And there are so many ways, especially around the holidays, to show you care through the giving of food.
Many folks start their Thanksgiving weekend by calling the Salvation Army to see if they can help deliver meals on that day. So many folks want to volunteer that it can be hard to get a spot!
Many people have no family at all, so a visitor on Thanksgiving is completely unexpected. They may not even know they’re getting a meal delivered until the bell rings. They are so surprised and pleased!
Foodrunners.org is a volunteer organization in San Francisco that picks up food from restaurants, bakeries, hospitals and hotels and delivers it, through their volunteer “runners,” to shelters and other neighborhood programs that feed the needy. Foodrunners delivers 10 tons of food each month in our city. It’s a brilliant idea!
The SF food bank collects millions of pounds of food from growers, packers and processors all over the U.S…. foods that are close to their sell-by date, or less than perfect for the conventional market. They truck it, store it and ship it to shelters. They serve 400 nonprofits in San Francisco. Check your city to see if there’s a similar program.
You’ve probably heard of Meals on Wheels at MOWAA.org. They represent community-based senior nutrition programs across the U.S., delivering one million meals daily to the elderly at home and in senior community centers. If you want to help provide a healthy and nutritious meal to the older population, check them out.
Have you had a PB&J lately?
We may take a simple sandwich for granted, but for many folks, a sandwich can mean the difference between eating that day or going hungry. Check out Peanutbutterplan.org. They suggest we each take one day a month, as individuals, to make 50 to 100 PB&Js, put them in baggies, go to a needy area and hand them out. Results and stories are written up on their Facebook wall to communicate with others nationwide and reach monthly goals.
Here’s an interesting idea for doing good with food. If you grow too much in your garden, volunteers can pick the unwanted fruit and take it to shelters. That’s what the Portland, Oregon Fruit Tree Project is all about.
It organizes people to gather fruit before it falls and make it available to those who need it most. You can register your fruit tree, call two weeks prior to ripening and sign up for a Harvesting Party. It’s a great way to meet others that care about community. Check online to see if your city has a similar program – communities all over the U.S. are organizing around this concept.
You might like to check into other opportunities to do good with food. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
www.veggietrader.com is a free nationwide resource for swapping your produce bonanza.
www.earthworksboston.org provides urban Boston residents with free fruit and essential nutrition, and restores city-owned natural areas too.
www.phillyorchards.org/ plants orchards of edible fruit in vacant lots and community gardens in Philadelphia.
www.chicagosfoodbank.org distributes food through a network of 650 food pantries in Chicago’s Cook County, as well as providing training to unemployed adults with a passion for food to attain entry-level jobs in food service.
foodforward.org is a Los Angeles-based grassroots volunteer group who harvest and donate food while raising awareness about urban hunger in southern California.
Lots of us cook in quantity or buy in bulk, whether it’s for food donations to the local soup kitchen or pre-holiday preparation. That’s when an extra freezer can be a lifesaver. Kenmore chest freezers have the flexible storage you want for organizing frozen foods.