Hope For The Hungry

Today is a special day!  It’s the first time I’ve ever hosted a guest writer on my personal blog.  I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, and fellow blogger, Karah Hawkinson. 

Hi!  I’m Karah from Food Shelf Friday.  Christy invited me to come here today and tell you a bit about the cause I’m passionate about, global hunger relief. Don’t tune me out yet!  I promise you the same thing I promise my readers – no guilt, no sad pictures, just hope and opportunity.

Here are some facts about hunger in the world today.  Nearly 10% of people don’t get enough to eat. 1 in 4 children is stunted physically or mentally by malnutrition.  21,000 people die each day from hunger and hunger-related illness, many of them children. A child dies from hunger or hunger-related illness every 10 seconds.  But I promised you hope, didn’t I?

There’s no denying that hunger is a big issue in the US and around the world, but there are also many wonderful organizations distributing food and clothing, digging wells, and providing employment and educational opportunities that will change the future of these families.  And you and your family can be part of that solution, even if you don’t have a lot of disposable income to give!

One thing my family practices is the Food Shelf Friday dinner . On Friday nights, we exchange our usual dinner for the kind of thing families get when they go to the food shelf for help.  We have pancakes and canned fruit, meatless spaghetti and canned vegetables, boxed dinners, canned soups, or rice and beans, and with the money we save, we give an identical meal to our local food shelf.

But if you’re going to start having Food Shelf Friday dinners, or if you’re contributing to one of the many holiday food drives this season, how do you know what your local food bank REALLY needs?  Generally speaking, the most useful item you can give a food bank is money.  They have buying power that the average grocery shopper can only dream of, so a financial donation goes a lot further than a food donation.  If you are going to donate food, the basic food bank needs are:

  • Canned fruits and/or veggies
  • Dry or canned beans
  • Rice and/or pasta
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Canned meats like tuna
  • Canned soup and/or chili
  • Pasta sauce in a plastic or aluminum containers
  • Dry dinner mixes (Hamburger Helper mac & cheese, etc.)

Keep in mind that food shelf users get a lot of sodium and preservatives in their diets, and they struggle to get adequate fiber and quality protein.  Low sodium foods, beans, brown rice and whole grains help fill these gaps.

Do NOT donate:

  • home canned foods
  • foods that need refrigeration
  • anything past its expiration date

In addition to Food Shelf Friday dinners, there are a lot of activities you can do to involve your whole family in helping the hungry.  I’ve posted about a number of ideas on my blog; here are some links:

Birthday Bags to provide birthday basics for a kid who can’t afford to celebrate

Blessings Bags so you always have something on hand when you encounter someone in need

Food Shelf Scavenger Hunt – a fun way to get kids involved in shopping for food bank basics

Thank you for helping the Hungry!

Karah

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