Food Banks..do you give?
Love helping others out and seen on the news that Food Banks are really struggling with food supply.
Loved to know how other Chowhounder's give of there charitable time..
For the holidays, I support several families with food gift cards from large grocery stores, Target cards..etc.
One day, I hope to do give more, all year long..
I try and round up as many canned goods to the Food Banks and drop them off as well.
I found the wonderful families through the AME Church in La Jolla..
the big box grocery stores around here make it easy, whenever I shop there, i slash one item from my list, and purchase the $5 food bank card at the register. I can easily afford to go without one thing, and that $5 makes a big difference to the food bank.
When I shop at a smaller grocery (which is becoming more frequent), I put a $5 in my charity box at home which we donate when it gets full.
At least twice a year, we head to the store. Both daughters get a budget to spend, and a list of the things for which the food bank has expressed a recent need.
We started doing this when they were 3. They are almost 7 now, and are already asking about our November trip and researching what the food Bank needs. Last year they worked it out so that one purchased as many turkeys as she could for her money, and the other bought the sides. Their idea. Very cute. You have 10 turkeys, that means I have to get 10 of everything too.
Agree with all, money at the register or your local food bank go a long way. You can also volunteer at your local food bank to sort donations and stock shelves. Some churches and soup kitchens need people to help serve Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. You could volunteer as a family. How wonderful you've got your girls involved at an early age, lgphil.
Also, take advantage of free stuff. I get mailings from my local grocery stores for freebies. I always pick them up, even if I can't use them myself, for exactly this reason. Jars of peanut butter, cans of tuna, bottles of apple juice, salad dressings will all keep until there's a drive. The postal carriers have a drive every May in my area. My bank is just now holding an October drive.
There's always a flurry of activity around the holidays, and while that's not a bad thing, this is an issue that's year-round, and likely to get worse in the coming months, I fear.
<Also, take advantage of free stuff. I get mailings from my local grocery stores for freebies. I always pick them up, even if I can't use them myself, for exactly this reason. Jars of peanut butter, cans of tuna, bottles of apple juice, salad dressings will all keep until there's a drive. The postal carriers have a drive every May in my area. My bank is just now holding an October drive.>
I used to do the same thing when I was living in US and was a not-so-well-off graduate student. I would get all the free stuff available, even if it is not something I'd normally eat and then donate. I also loved the freebies at Walgreens for the same reason. I would collect lots of free beauty products, even if they do not suit my skin or hair type (not that I have much hair) and donate all at the woman's shelter.
In Canada it is harder to get that kind of freebies, and I do not want to assume what shelters might need. Besides I make much more than I used to make, so I just automatically donate a proportion of my paycheck to a shelter every two weeks. My employers arrange everything. I kind of feel like it is not even a donation, but one of those taxes/compulsory payments that need to be deducted so I still try to give more whenever I have the chance.
I live in Charlottesville, VA and there's a great program in town called Holiday Sharing run by Madison House which is a sort of volunteer clearing house for UVA students.
Through the program you can donate non-perishable food items, gift certificates/cards for perishable food items and a holiday gift for a family. My wife and I sponsor a family each year which entails providing 3 holiday meals worth of food and gifts for each member of the family. The families are identified through the Salvation Army who also works with them to find out what gifts they need/want.
We also give to local food banks and to America's Second Harvest (they just changed their name, but I can't remember the new one) but the Holiday Sharing program always feels particularly good to work with.
I volunteer for the North Texas Food Bank and love it! I also do a little bit for the Salvation Army...when we had Hurricane Ike evacuees, i helped serve some of them staying at the University of North Texas...i know they were happy to get meals, but i felt bad at the very basic food that they were having to eat. I remember watching something on Hurricane Katrina a few years ago and some chefs had volunteered and were cooking up so DELICIOUS looking food using the basic ingredients supplied by food banks. I wish i had that ability so that the people being served would not just be grateful for a meal, but be grateful for a truly outstanding meal.