Most people don't realize the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving by stuffing our faces like crazy. The first Thanksgiving was the actual, first decent meal the Pilgrims had seen in just over a year. It was not as plentiful as our Thanksgiving's of today, and they arrived at that Thanksgiving table quite hungry and very grateful for every bite!
Everyone deserves to celebrate Thanksgiving with a hearty meal. If you are hungry and get your food from a food pantry, then you need a bit of extra help getting this meal. Hippies are known for having kind hearts and this is something you can do to help so many others, especially right in your community who may be hungry.
Never donated food to a food pantry before? It's okay - doing this is not too hard. One of the best tips we can give you is quite simple: to follow The Golden Rule. Why, you probably learned when you were a little kid in nursery school "to do to others what you wanted others to do to you." Putting it simply, when it comes to donating food: be fair.
No one wants to eat some of the food that never tastes fantastic and really even isn't that nutritious - like waxed green beans. Have you ever eaten waxed beans? Now, canned green beans are a perfectly good choice. But the waxed ones are really horrible!
If you are thinking about donating food to a food pantry - just put yourself in that person's shoes who is going to receive it and say, "would I really want to eat this?" Now, if the answer is "no" then you know to put that can of waxed beans back!
The very best types of foods - and quite frankly the ones that food pantries really only want to accept now - are going to be nutritious. Fortunately, you do not have to spend a ton of money to still eat healthy, and to donate money to a food pantry.
Most food pantries will guide you that they cannot split bigger packages up into smaller ones. So do not buy a huge 10lb bag of beans, hoping it can be divided. Your goal is to look for items that would be selected by an individual, couple of a family that was shopping at a food pantry.
Take a look at your favorite grocery store's weekly circular and see what is on sale. That may turn out to be a fantastic way for you to be able to make a generous donation, all while not spending too much. Sometimes those family sized jars of brand name peanut butter can drop to a dollar fifty, and you only have to watch the circular to notice when to buy them. So instead of paying $5 for one, you could buy 4 jars for $6 - which would be completely amazing!
Don't think you have to make a huge donation to truly make a difference. Simply coming and giving something from your heart can be a huge help to someone in need who is struggling right now. Not every food pantry has the funds to cover all of the food they give away. When you donate food, you are making it possible for them to help the people they serve. So even if you say to yourself "Oh, I can only drop off 4 cans, that's not much" - do realize that is 4 cans they did not have before you arrived. You truly are helping! And they are grateful for you!
Thanksgiving Favorites to Donate:
- Canned vegetables
- Cranberry sauce
- Boxes of stuffing
- Canned pumpkin or yams
Other Items Your Food Pantry is Always Looking For:
- Dried or canned beans
- Peanut or nut butters
- Granola bars
- Canned tuna, salmon and other sources of protein
- Canned soups
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
- Always read nutrition labels, and select items that are high in fiber, low sodium and low in sugar. For example, with canned soup, the sodium can often creep higher and higher. So do your best to search for low sodium versions of canned soup (they are there!)
- Most food pantries will be quick to explain that they can't divide a bigger package that you donate. So while you are thrilled to find a 10lb bag of dried beans on sale, this puts your food pantry in an awkward situation, because it only gives them a donation for 1 person or family. What you are searching for is smaller packages, most often feeding families of four to six people, or individuals or couples. Huge packages are not going to be as helpful as you would hope they could be.
- If you see something that is healthy and not on the list, such as dried fruit in small packages, you could get this to donate. One nice thing most food pantries have is called a "choice" table or section, where people can select one or a few items that are special and they won't see all the time.
Really, really want to be helpful this Thanksgiving?
All you need to do are these 2 things:
1) Read your food pantry's website, to see what they have a critical need for, and bring them those specific items. They will be thrilled to receive them!
2) See if you can donate some of your time to volunteer. An afternoon on the weekend or an evening after work would be lots of help for your local food pantry. Remember at Thanksgiving, they are giving out even more food, and need extra hands on deck.
Thank you for celebrating Thanksgiving in true Hippie fashion, by helping others!