FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Hunger & the Holidays

grocery bagNo doubt one thing we all look forward to during the holiday season is the endless food. From the ham and turkey to the cakes and pies, we pretty much celebrate food. But what about all those across the world who are living with hunger, or even without access to clean water? As they say, the holiday season should be about giving to others, so please consider giving through these food-focused charities.

Blessings in a Backpack
In the US, many students’ only meals are at school. To feed students over the weekend when they are not in school, every Friday students get backpacks filled with easy-to-prepare and ready-to-eat food, such as granola bars, peanut butter, tuna, crackers, mac & cheese, cereal, juice boxes, etc. Blessings in a Backpack reviews its standard menu with a nutritionist annually to make sure the food is kid-friendly, nutritious, non-perishable and easy-to-prepare.  On Monday, the students return the backpacks, fed and ready to learn. $80 feeds a child in the program for an entire school year. How to get involved or donate

Heifer International
Oprah featured this charity in 2009 and it’s impact around the world has grown since. By making a monetary donation, you can empower a family and help provide livestock, seeds, or training. For example, a donation towards a heifer will provide milk and nourishment, boosts a family’s income through the sale of milk, and encourages better crop yields by creating fertilizer. A donation towards a wool sheep provides warm clothing for families living in harsh environments and also increases income through sales of extra wool. How to get involved or donate

Food Bank NYC
2.6 million New Yorkers have difficulty affording food. Food Bank tackles hunger through food distribution, income support  and nutrition education. The organization recently received half a million dollars from an anonymous donor inspired by a New York Times article highlighting the need for social-service philanthropy, and now the organization is matching all donations dollar-for-dollar. $35 can help feed a child for two months and $65 can help provide food for an elderly couple for 8 weeks. Low on funds? You can also donate your time.

Charity: Water
Right now, almost one billion people in the world do not have access to clean, safe drinking water. This non-profit organization brings clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years. Check out their online store where you can give and get fashionable shirts, phone cases, candles and posters. 100% of the profits from these goods directly funds clean water projects and helps the organization grow. Donate or get involved

What more can you do? Get political.
Know your Representatives – Senators, Assembly members, Congress, City Council, etc. – and educate yourself about candidates’ positions on hunger and poverty. Know who is advocating for what and why. Rally behind candidates who are actively addressing hunger. You can also sign petitions (check out or or lobby yourself or with an advocacy group at all levels of government to end hunger.