Giving Guide 2015: For foodies
It's time for another giving guide! This year, I decided to pay extra attention to all the things for which I'm grateful and, in that spirit, to shed light on some opportunities we can all take to help others. I shared a Giving Guide for readers and writers a couple weeks ago and heard from several of you, who were excited by the idea. I hope you'll find this guide equally useful.
Giving time, supplies and money to groups that fight hunger or support sustainability is a great way to help individuals in our neighborhoods, cities and countries have better futures. Heck, those are also great ways to benefit people of the future! At home, I'm trying to take advantage of meal planning and other techniques to reduce food waste. Little efforts count, too.
Here are some other ways you can channel your foodie passion to do good:
GET IN THE MONTHLY GIVING HABIT.
The holidays are a great time to get started donating food or funds to food banks or other charities. But it's important to give to such causes year-round. In fact, some say this can be even more helpful than a one-time donation. These organizations have to keep people fed year-round. One way to do this easily is to sign up for a monthly credit card donation to Feeding America. While you're at their site, you can also find a food bank near you.
WORK AT A FARM.
Living in Chicago, I am often surprised and delighted by the various ways people are figuring out how to grow food sustainably despite space constraints and long winters. One way to support such efforts is to volunteer your time, by working at urban farms — or rural ones, if you're not a city dweller like me. This list of urban agriculture projects in Chicago offers a glimpse at volunteer opportunities or sustainable farming ventures you can support as a consumer.
FEED THE ELDERLY.
The holidays can be a very lonely time for those who aren't lucky enough to be surrounded by family and friends the way so many of us are. This can be particularly true for the elderly, who may be alone for any number of reasons. That's why this season is a great time to connect with new people over food. You can do that through a formal program, such as Meals on Wheels, which would have you deliver food to elderly or disabled folks. You could also consider checking in on neighbors, distant relatives or other people in your orbit who you think could use a friend. I can only imagine how happy someone would be to receive an unexpected homemade meal or treat.
I hope you like these ideas, and that you'll add some of your own in the comments. Most of all, I hope we can start doing some of these things now, and keep them up for a long time to come.