5 Food charities we love
The holidays bring out the best in all of us. This year, as you're looking for just the right cause to give to, consider these charities that help fight hunger by providing meals, distributing groceries and teaching new sustainable farming techniques.
Hunger is a worldwide epidemic. Whether you choose to help stock someone's pantry, serve a hot meal to a person in need or help support an international farmer, you're doing your part. This holiday season, join the fight to end hunger by donating to one of these very worthwhile causes.
Provide food and meals
Some of the better-known food charities provide meals to the homeless, ill and elderly, or distribute groceries to the needy and disadvantaged. Just because these programs are well-known doesn't mean they don't need your help.
Through a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, Feeding America is on a mission to end hunger by supplying food to more than 37 million people each year. Mobile pantries, community outreach, national produce procurement and disaster relief are all aspects of this important program. There are many ways to help Feeding America, from running food drives to donating food supplies, time or money. Be sure to check with your local food bank about which items they will accept or refuse before organizing a food drive as a poorly organized food drive can actually put more burden on the food bank you're trying to assist.
In an effort to assist seniors against the threat of hunger, Meals on Wheels Association of America consists of approximately 5,000 local senior nutrition programs in the U.S., providing more than 1 million meals a day to senior centers and directly to homes. Join the Meals on Wheels huge volunteer network and the fight against senior hunger by volunteering to prepare or deliver meals. Or, for just $35, you can help provide meals to five seniors.
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Help farmers and crops
Lesser-known food charities need assistance, too. One way to help solve the hunger problem is to help protect the crops and farmers themselves. Charities in our own backyards, as well as around the world, have been established with this goal in mind.
In the U.S., Farm Aid has been helping American farmers stay on their land for more than 25 years. Musicians Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp organized the first benefit concert in 1985 as a way to raise awareness about farm families losing their land and to raise money to help them keep it. The organization promotes buying local and gaining better access to family farm food for consumers, and also works to strengthen the connection between farmers and consumers. The nonprofit aids in the transition to sustainable practices and promotes fair farm polices. Just by buying local and supporting farmers, you're helping this charity. If you'd like to do more, check out their donation page.
In Central America, Sustainable Harvest International helps support rural farming families by providing tools and training to preserve their tropical forests by teaching alternatives to deforestation. The program educates families on nutrition, crop diversification, sustainable farming techniques and commercialization, and also plants trees and organic gardens to ensure increased crop yields and a healthier ecosystem for the future. Consider a donation to this program that has a long waiting list of families in need.
Work is also being done internationally to help conserve the world's food supply. Global Crop Diversity Trust, a foundation for food security, focuses their efforts on crop diversity and adapting crops to meet future challenges such as drought or extreme heat. By guaranteeing that these crops are conserved and available, they can better protect the future worldwide food supply. Go to their donation page to help this important agricultural cause.