As a chef, mealtime is always special during the holidays, especially when our family gathers around to share stories and celebrate. But another tradition we have is to come together to make the season just as special for others in our community.
Here are some ways your family can give back together during the holidays, too.
Pass the donations
Food pantries and soup kitchens are great places to volunteer with your older children, nieces or nephews.
• Shop and cook together as a family, then deliver to local food organizations.
• Serve meals at a shelter; you can help once a week or once a season, whatever works for you.
• Host a cooking party or cookie exchange and “charge” guests a small donation. At the end of the party, announce the total donation amount.
Food pantries and homeless shelters
Food pantries do not usually accept perishable goods, but at some shelters, you can provide ready-to-serve foods. Call your shelter for their donation guidelines. They might welcome casseroles, brownies and soups – anything that is easy to serve, holds its shape and freezes well.
Choose a way to give
Have everyone in your family donate something to charity – time, a monetary gift or a service. It’s the best way to give, and a memory you will keep for a lifetime.
It’s fun to involve young children in giving. They can help in the kitchen, serve meals with mom and dad or donate old toys.
Organize a penny drive at your child’s school with the proceeds going to a charity the students have chosen. Hold a contest between classes or grades to foster a competitive giving spirit!
Start a neighborhood garden in your area with other families. Donate your fresh produce to a local pantry.
Organize the neighbors for a charity block party and fundraising event, with proceeds going to a local organization.
A favorite way to raise money! Sell baked goods at a school-wide function for charity.
Many businesses and organizations, including mine, are choosing to host a service-oriented event during the holidays as a form of team building.