My Gift Guide

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I wrote up a three-part gift guide to share with you all. It included fun kitchen gadgets, inspiring cookbooks, and delectable local treats. I love every single thing I wrote about. But I couldn’t share those posts with you.

The more I thought about it, the stranger it felt – telling people to go buy more stuff, even useful stuff, seemed out of place. I don’t begrudge anyone who makes such a post during the holiday season, but for me it just wasn’t right.

Instead of taking this space to promote the latest Dutch oven color or remind you that a stand mixer is the single most important purchase in your cooking life, I’m going remind everyone to step back and take a moment and remember that we are all so amazingly lucky to be able to spend our Decembers worrying about what cookies we’re going to make for the office swap or how many more themed blog posts we can fit in before Christmas.

17% of Americans are now classified as “food insecure”. This translates to approximately 50 million people who don’t always know where their next meal is coming from. Even though I live in Austin, Texas, the place that is head and shoulders above all other cities in annual spending on food (about $12,000 per year), there are almost 50,000 people who depend on the local food bank to provide food. And nearly half that number is composed of children.

Did you know that a $25 donation to your local food bank translates into $125 of food for families in need?

Yes, you work hard for your money. You do not need to justify to me your stocked wine cellar or weekly tasting dinners. But maybe you could help someone not have to resort to the dollar menu for their one “nutritious” meal of the day. It’s hard enough to accept that bag of food from the food pantry; harder still if the funds aren’t available to provide the most nutritious food possible.

My family and I are very privileged, for all the “problems” we have. We have a warm comfortable home, lots of the latest tech gadgets, and freezers, fridge, and pantry stacked high with food. Not being able to feed my child scares me, and so we always have more than we need on hand. The weight of childhood memories shopping at the thrift bakery, and having to abandon a cartload of food at the grocery store has only started to press on me now that I am a parent, and understand. If something were to happen to us and we should need the food bank, I can only hope that there are people continuing to help. Right now, there is someone out there hoping people continue to help tomorrow, and the day after.

To donate to the Capital Area Food Bank of Central Texas, go here. There are also many events going on through the end of the year to raise funds. Information about all events is posted here.

If you need to find your local food bank, check out the search function at Feeding America.

For another resource, visit Share our Strength.

It may not seem like you can make a difference as a single person, but each little droplet of hope can turn into a rainstorm.

9 Comments

  1. Bravo!! Ever since I saw your tweet about gift guide guilt a couple days ago I was really curious what you’d end up posting. This is fantastic, and much more fun than another buy-buy-buy holiday blog entry.

  2. Hi! I work for a Christian radio station in central Indiana and we are partnering right now with a food bank to collect canned veggies. I love your perspective…would it be okay to quote your blog now and then as we ask our listeners to help?

  3. Thank you for doing this. Are you participating in Share our Strength’s Share our Holiday Table event? I think they’re still taking bloggers, and you’d be a great addition to the group. I hope you’ll consider it.

  4. My husband and I volunteered at the food bank right before Thanksgiving. We may not really be able to afford donating right now but we certainly have the time to spare to help a good cause! Thanks for posting.

  5. This is so nice — and that’s a powerful statistic about a $25 donation. It’s good to remember that the holiday spirit doesn’t always mean buying, it’s also so important to think about the ways you can give that actually mean something.

  6. Megan, thank you for writing this post. I wish we would see more of them.

    I will be working with my Petits Chefs this coming week to make meals for the Out of the Cold program (to feed homeless people) and we will be using the gift card we received from Kraft’s Recipe for Joy (a program to promote hunger awareness) to purchase those groceries. It’s not much but I feel a responsibility to my students to teach them the importance of giving back this holiday season.

    Thank you so much for continuing to spread the word.

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