44 Things You Can Do to Fight Hunger in America Slideshow
Cough Up Your Lunch Money, Seriously
City Harvest’s Skip Lunch Fight Hunger is a New York City-wide initiative that asks people to brown-bag it for one day a year and then donate the money that they would have spent on lunch to the organization. City Harvest calculated that with a mere $10, the amount an average New Yorker spends on lunch, they can feed more than 43 hungry children. To get involved in Skip Lunch Fight Hunger 2012, email Raquel Pinheiro.
Write a Letter
Bread for the World encourages people to use the power of the pen and write letters to Congress regarding the crisis of hunger in America and urging them to fight for legislative action. The power of concern sends a strong message to our political leaders. In fact, the Congressional Management Foundation conducted a recent study that found that the most effective way to communicate with members of Congress is still via snail mail. So get writing!
Gather Together for Do-Gooding
Gather your loved ones together and volunteer to help out Food Lifeline, an organization dedicated to eradicating hunger in Western Washington. Groups ranging in size from eight to 60 people can sign up to help label, sort, and repackage food for distribution at their Shoreline warehouse. Food Lifeline provides food to participating banks and shelters locally. It's an idea that could be replicated anywhere across the country.
Wine and Dine... Yourself
Dine Out Against Hunger is a nationwide effort popping up in different cities across the country. Depending on your state’s event date and participating restaurants in your area, up to 20 percent of your bill will go to your local food bank.
Walk to Stop Hunger
Some 2,000 communities across the country participate in CROP Hunger Walks each year, raising funds for local hunger-fighting organizations and agencies as well as international relief efforts. Millions of people around the world walk for water, for food, to get to school, and to get to their jobs — "Ending Hunger One Step at a Time."
Cook for the Cause
Calling all chefs and nutritionists! You can volunteer to teach a course in Share Our Strenth’s Cooking Matters program. It guides participants through the process of making nutritious and cost-effective meals for their families. Sign up here.
Warm Your Soul, Fill Some Bowls
With Empty Bowls, original bowls created by local artists are filled with an actual meal of soup and bread. You buy a bowl for $25 (which helps the food bank provide 75 meals to those who need them) and keep the bowls as a memory of your good deed, and as a reminder that there are always empty bowls out there that need filling.
Fight Hunger with Twitter, Facebook, and the Web
• Post, Tweet, Blog, Text, Scream, Yell — It All Works: Share hunger stats with friends. Raise awareness in your area and spread word that a $1 donation to Feeding America provides the equivalent of eight meals to hungry people.
• Huddle to Fight Hunger: Every point earned while playing the “2-Minute Trivia Drill” on Kraft's Huddle to Fight Hunger Facebook page (and every like it gets) is equivalent to a one-meal donation to Feeding America.
• Share Your Breakfast: If you share your breakfast with Kellogg's by photo upload, or text, they’ll help share breakfast with kids in school who might miss out.
• Keep Kids Snacking During the Summer: Only 2.3 million children are enrolled in summer meal programs, which means about 18 million children are at risk of hunger that time of year. Text “FEEDKIDS” to 50555 to donate $10 directly to Feeding America. It's the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity, and your donation will help them provide 70 meals to children and families facing hunger.
Glean for Good
During the summer and fall, volunteers are needed to help sort fresh fruits and vegetables grown by local farmers, and distributed by Foodshare through its Mobile Foodshare program. Dozens of farmers also offer 'gleaning' opportunities, allowing volunteers to pick the remaining crops directly from the field at the end of each season.
Buy Seeds, Plant a Row, Donate Your Harvest
• Buy Some Seeds, Teach a Family to Garden: Buy seeds from The Dinner Garden for $5 and you'll feed seven people for a year. Given seeds and gardening know-how, at-risk families are given the ability to grow their own productive gardens, making a difference on their dinner tables.
• Got a Fruit Tree? FoodForward is on the lookout for neighbors with mature fruit trees and excess fruit and vegetables to share with those in need. They give 100 percent of all fruit harvested to local food pantries.
• Plant a Row: With Connecticut Food Bank’s Plant a Row for the Hungry program farmers and home and community gardeners can plant an extra row of produce to donate to local hunger-relief efforts. Plant a Row also works with local farmers markets, farms, and orchards to collect unsold, wholesome produce for food-assistance programs.
• Create a School Garden: With the help of Schools Fight Hunger, team up with classmates and teachers to create a school garden to grow seasonal fruits and vegetables to donate to a local food bank
Get Your Game Face On
Who doesn’t love a little friendly competition, especially when the real winners are those in need? Philabundance’s Corporate Beetdown is a year-long campaign that will track your company’s volunteer, fundraising, and food drive efforts. In addition to a flashy trophy and bragging rights, if your company accumulates the most points, Philabundance will promote your accomplishment through their press and social media outlets.
Adopt an Acre, Feed for Miles
Make Music for Food
WhyHunger's Artists Against Hunger & Poverty program offers musicians the chance to raise funds and awareness through their music by donating a portion of concert ticket sales, through meet and greets, giving away tickets, or putting signed memorabilia up for auction. You can also text WhyHunger your creative ideas on how to raise funds and awareness (90999) or text "WHY" to donate $5 to the organization.
Let's face it, moving sucks. But at least some good can come of it. Move For Hunger has teamed up with moving companies across the United States to create one of the nation's largest year-round service programs. Have unwanted, non-perishable food items you don't need or don't want to move to your new place? Their movers will pick them up and deliver them to local food banks.
Pick a Ticket, Any Ticket
Attend or take someone to an Oxfam America Hunger Banquet. Guests randomly draw tickets that assign them to different income levels, based on statistics about the number of people living in poverty. Depending on where you sit, you'll receive a filling dinner or share sparse portions of rice and water. Experiencing the truth may help spread support for the cause.
Get Behind the Wheel
Meals on Wheels is always looking for volunteers to act as drivers and runners. All you have to do is pick up food at a central MOW location, then deliver it to recipients of the program. MOW works specifically to aid senior citizens that are in need of nourishing meals.
Get a Haircut... Really
Follow the lead of Farrer's Barber Shop in Charlotte and Taperz Barbershop & Salon in Raleigh, N.C., and create a C.A.N.S. 4 Cuts drive. Team your hair salon with a local food bank and make a barter system happen for a good cause.
Grind Out Hunger
Grind Out Hunger is a campaign created by skateboarders that aims to challenge local elementary, middle, and high schools to collect food and raise money for hungry children. The school that raises the most pounds of food per student is awarded gift certificates to Santa Cruz Skate and Surf Shop and SkateWorks Skate Shop with the total valued at $1,800.
Clean Your House
Everyone’s got junk. Organize it, sell it, and in the process, you can make a difference. Kill two birds with one stone: clean your home and at the same time fill some bellies. Better Homes and Gardens' Clean Out for Kids is a national effort that encourages people to clean their homes, host a yard sale, and donate its proceeds to Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit whose goal is to end childhood hunger by 2015.
Get Your Steven Spielberg On
The Food and Nutrition Service has invited elementary, middle, and junior high school students to participate in the Ending Childhood Hunger Video Contest, which asks the question, "What are you doing to end childhood hunger in your community?" Videos should be two minutes or less and show current activities or innovative ideas that tackle the problem of childhood hunger. Submissions are due by December 15th.
Host for Hunger
Host a Food Day event to support your local food bank. If you tell Epicurious about your party, you may even win a prize, and a donation to match whatever you were able to raise for your favorite food charity.
Strike Out Hunger
Maybe you've already done one of Project Bread’s Walks for Hunger, dedicated to ending hunger in Massachusetts. This year, the organization is featuring another active, playful way to help: the Strike Out Hunger Bowl-a-thon. Register as a team captain; recruit friends, family, and co-workers as teammates; raise $650 or more per lane; and join them on November 15th to raise money to help Boston locals get through the tough winter months that lie ahead.
Stomp Out Hunger
Take a cue from Sierra Senior Services, which held the 2nd Annual Stomp Out Hunger Grape Stomp in conjunction with the 8th Annual Truckee Wine, Walk and Shop and start a Stomp Out in your city. Teams are pitted against each other to raise money for the local Meals on Wheels chapters and Senior Nutrition Programs. Teams compete for two minutes and are judged based on who produces the most liquid.
Pack a Meal
Volunteer with The Hunger Coalition, a nonprofit organization that aims to provide kid-friendly single-serving food items to children who otherwise may not have enough to eat when outside the safety net of school meal programs. You can collect food, pack bags, or offer to distribute the food to participating schools and students in your community.
Watch Chefs Battle in Kitchens, or Volunteer in One
• Capital Food Fight: For $200 you can buy a ticket to The Capital Food Fight in November, which pits great chefs against each other in Iron Chef-like tournaments using secret ingredients. There are also tastings of signature dishes from dozens of D.C.'s hottest restaurants. The event benefits DC Central Kitchen's job training, meal distribution, and support for local food systems.
• Get in the Kitchen: You can help DC Central Kitchen by assisting in serving breakfast, packing food, or even teaching a cooking workshop to help less fortunate people get back on their feet.
Turn Lunch-Tray Leftovers Into Dinner
Every college campus has unserved, leftover food in its dining halls. The Campus Kitchens Projects uses conscientious student power to effect hunger relief. "We partner with high schools, colleges, and universities to share on-campus kitchen space, recover food from cafeterias, and engage students as volunteers who prepare and deliver meals to the community."
Ride the Wave, the Wholesome Wave
Make a donation to Wholesome Wave. Through partnerships with more than 50 community-based organizations, Wholesome Wave programs increase access to affordable, healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables for underserved communities. The organization has more than 45 partners and is active in 25 states with more than 250 markets and 1,700 participating farmers. Their Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP) uses private donations to double the value of federal food assistance benefits when spent at farmers markets.
Give to Others While Celebrating Yourself
MAZON, which means "food" or "sustenance" in Hebrew, is a national Jewish organization dedicated exclusively to fighting hunger. Include MAZON in your celebrations, be they weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, anniversaries, or otherwise, by integrating MAZON's donation request forms into your party, or by donating 3 percent of the cost of the celebration to the organization. In doing this, "You honor the Jewish tradition of not eating until you have provided for the poor."
Go for a Run — A Food Run
Food Runners picks up excess perishable and prepared food from restaurants, caterers, bakeries, hospitals, event planners, corporate cafeterias, and hotels in San Francisco and delivers more than 10 tons of food a week to shelters and neighborhood programs that feed the hungry. Become a food runner and volunteer to help make this happen.
Got Extra Dough? Fork It Over
Make bread? Have leftovers at the end of the day? Get your organization involved in Panera's Operation Dough-Nation. Unsold bakery products are packaged at the end of each day and donated to local food banks and charities. In 2008, Panera's bakery-cafes donated more than 50 million dollars’ worth of bread and baked goods to charitable organizations helping to address the need for food distribution communities.
Help Feed a Senior
Around the Corner Hunger helps hunger relief organizations increase their resources, so they can feed older Americans. Depending on your monetary donation ($25, $50, $100), a weekly, monthly, or three-month food supply will be donated to a senior in need.
Come Up with Your Own Ideas
Be a trailblazer. Come up with your own ideas on how to effect change and feed the hungry, whether it's in your own community or across the country. Comment on this story with your best ideas on how to fight hunger.
Imagine: There's No Hunger
Yoko Ono is asking that on November 1st at 1 p.m. EST, people across the world “take a moment to imagine a nourished and abundant world, where ‘the world will live as one.’” Donate to the hunger campaign, by texting "imagine" to 50555. Proceeds from an upcoming limited-edition bracelet will also support the cause.
Shop for Hunger
The Hunger Site is an online activism web site selling fair trade items including seasonal home décor, African products, and everyday goods — the proceeds of which are donated to participating charities like Feeding America, Millenium Promise, and Mercy Corps. Every purchase fights famine in the horn of Africa and combats hunger in America.