Turning Gratitude Into Motivation: Eleven Things Food Banks Need This Holiday Season

I’m not much for cliches… in fact, they typically make me break out in hives, however, poet Thomas Haynes Bayly was on to something when he first penned, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” back in 1884.  At least that seems to be the case for the small people and I.  Having spent the better part of the past six weeks apart, we ‘re behaving like conjoined twins.

When we aren’t physically separated for something serious, like….say, school… we are somehow in each other’s presence.  They won’t eat dinner without sitting in chairs that are touching mine, they won’t change for bedtime without me in the room, they won’t do homework without me leaning over their shoulders.

I am grateful for them.  And though we always talk so much about gratitude in November as we lead up to Thanksgiving, I don’t need this holiday to be reminded of their love and gratitude for me.

And yet – this holiday will be extra special for the time we will have together.  For the presence we will experience, for the gratitude I can teach, for the food we will prepare and share together.

I’ve seen gratitude posts popping up daily on Facebook – once a day for the month of November, many of my friends are taking the time to focus on what they are most grateful for in their lives.  I love this.  It is powerful to focus our energies in a positive way AND being that there are 30 days in the month, we are forced to move past the basics of kids, extended family, health and a roof over our heads.

Oh….. and food.

Whenever we talk Thanksgiving, food is ALWAYS top of mind.  What will you cook?  What is your favorite dish? Where will you be eating?  Does eating too much turkey REALLY make you sleepy?

But while we are busy saying ‘Thank you”…. (an important thing to do, absolutely), it is easy to forget that for 1 in 6 Americans (1 in 4 KIDS)…. these questions don’t even matter.  Because they are hungry. And they aren’t even sure where their next meal will come from – let alone a holiday meal.

If this is your first time visiting me here, you probably don’t know I’m passionate about ending Child Hunger.  If you’ve stopped by before, you’ve heard me talk about this already. I figured now, as I’m surrounded by the goodness that is my small people, I would share something you might not know…  there are 11 items that are most IN NEED at food banks during the holiday season.

This list was compiled by Feeding America:

  1. Cereal
  2. Pasta
  3. Rice
  4. Canned fruits and vegetables
  5. Canned meals such as soups, chili, pasta
  6. 100% juice
  7. Peanut butter
  8. Pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce
  9. Macaroni & cheese
  10. Canned protein – tuna, chicken, turkey
  11. Beans – canned or dry

So, this is me, giving you a gentle nudge – a love tap, if you will…. if you can spare any of these items in the next few weeks, I promise you they won’t go to waste.  Since my efforts to end Child Hunger have been dedicated to the Child Hunger Ends Here program through Con Agra Foods for the last few years, it is worth pointing out that Hunts’ Chef Boyardee, Peter Pan and Manwich are just a few of the Con Agra brands that supply some of the 11 items listed above.

Also – Child Hunger Ends Here is working in collaboration with School’s Fight Hunger.  To register your school or for more information on how your school might get involved, read more.


Feeding America – Help me Provide 2000 meals

I have a problem.  Actually, a few of them. And I hope you can help.

  • One in Eight people (many of them children) is struggling with hunger.
  • Nearly 96 Billion pounds of food go to waste every year. Billion.

How is that even possible?

When I was growing up, I used to hear, “Don’t waste that – there are starving children in…..(fill in the blank with a far-away country)”

But it is happening here.  One in Eight people.

The good news is – you can help.  And it is easy – and painless.


I have teamed up with Feeding America and Libby’s Vegetables to run a virtual canned food drive. I have set a goal of $1000, but would be thrilled with $150.

Every $5 we raise provides 35 meals for hungry families – so with only $150 – you and I would be providing 1,050 meals. Crazy, right?

How the Virtual Canned Food Drive Works

  • You donate.
  • Libby’s Vegetables matches your donation.
  • Feeding America continues to build relationships with the people who can help: growers, retailers, wholesalers and restaurants.  They encourage them to DONATE, not DUMO.
  • The Feeding America Network takes responsibility for the donated food and groceries – making sure they go where they are needed.
  • The Food Banks working with Feeding America store the food safely and make sure it gets to local charities.
  • The food then ends up in the hands of the hungry through local homeless shelters, soup kitchens, youth programs and food pantries.

Simple, yes?

libbyslogoSomething else to consider – the good folks at Libby’s Vegetables will match donations through this virtual food drive – dollar for dollar – up to $30,000.

OK – so, just for a minute – let’s go back to that $150 I want to raise.

$150 = 1,050 meals for needy families ( Each $5 = 35 meals)

But if Libby matches, the $150 we raise together is really $300.

And $300 is actually 2,100 meals.

Will you help me get to $150? I am so grateful for your help.

A little info about Feeding America.

Feeding America is the largest charitable hunger relief organization in the United States. Every year, they help to feed more than 25 million people who would otherwise go hungry.  Nine million of those are children. They have a network of more than 200 food banks. Those food banks work with more than 63,000 soup kitchens, homeless and emergency shelters, and after-school programs. Through the food they secure and distribute, they provide two billion pounds of food annually.

The Virtual Drive is running through December 13th, 2009.