You’re probably wondering what you can do to help feed the world (other than handing out sandwiches to hungry-looking people—though this is a possibility). Luckily this time of year is rife with organizations and projects just ready to shower food and other necessities on those who need it. Each community has its own methods of giving back—charitable donations, turkey trots, food banks—so you have to keep your eyes open, but here are a few things you can do that are pretty universal:
- Give to a Food Bank – There are Food Banks everywhere. Well, not everywhere, but you can usually find one or more in every state (with the exception of Wyoming—What gives Wyoming?).
- Participate in a Food Drive – You know what’s so great about youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America? There’s always some kid who needs to earn a merit badge or pump out an Eagle project before he reaches the age of 18, and during this time of year that project is often a food drive. But it doesn’t end with Boy Scouts. LDS youth groups often have something going on, or you can organize your own. Visit Common Heart to register your food drive, find a local one in which to participate, or be part of a virtual food drive.
- Join Feeding America – Because hunger is a year-round thing (we need to eat regularly, it turns out, to survive), some organizations such as Feeding America provide ways that you can give all the time.
- Take Food to Your Local Grocery Store – Most grocery stores have an area where you can drop off food items for the needy. Some stores have these areas all year, some don’t. Luckily, they’re everywhere at this time of year. Grab a can of soup when you’re doing your own grocery shopping, and drop it off on your way out. Even a little helps.
- Donate to LDS Philanthropies – The LDS Church donates millions of dollars to charity, and 100 percent of all money donated actually gets to the people in need because there’s no overhead. Participation at all levels is based on service, not pay. The Benson Food Initiative focuses on a feeding the hungry world-wide. The Church gives food to the hungry, trains people in making home gardens, gives information about food storage, and does nutrition training.
- Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen – If all you can give is some time, then that’s more than enough. It might be a little more difficult to get time in a soup kitchen because of a plethora of volunteers during the holiday season, but soup kitchens need help year-long. Go to the Homeless Shelter Directory to find soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and food banks that need help.
Whatever you choose to do, do it with a song in your heart and a smile on your face. By giving food, you’re helping somebody satisfy one of the most basic needs, and that gives them a chance at so much more. What could we as humans accomplish if we didn’t need to worry about survival? What could we create? Service bring happiness. Be happy.