Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings and thank God for His care and provision. However, there are times when we or someone we know needs this provision and we can be the ones to supply it.
Thankfully, there are many food banks we can give to help others. But are we giving the right kind of food? Deb Martinson, once homeless and hungry, gives some tips on how to donate goods that won’t go to waste – and will actually help those in need.
Giving is great. Giving smart is even better.
1. Give like a hungry person. If all your meals for the next week were coming from your donations, would you eat them?
2. Don’t give anything that is out of date or the package is destroyed. Don’t give items that most people wouldn’t eat.
3. Give items that don’t need to be cooked. Many homeless or hungry people don’t have a microwave or their ovens are broken or the power has been shut off. Give granola bars, crackers, Spam, tuna, peanut butter, dry milk.
4. Leave food in the original packaging. If it needs to be portioned out, the volunteers at the food bank will take care of it.
5. Think simple. Give a boxed cake that just needs water. Instant coffee is wonderful. Many people just don’t have coffee makers. Bisquick is great!
6. Please donate gluten-free items and label them. These types of foods are difficult to find in a center.
7. Pull top cans are much better than traditional cans. Some of the homeless don’t have can openers.
8. If you can, ask the center what they need. Sometimes non-food items are desperately needed: soap, toilet paper, tampons and pads, diapers. They even need plastic bags for the items.
9. Check out your grocery store. Many work with local food pantries to assemble bags of food and you can either give money or place the food in the bin in the store.
10. The homeless and hungry like cookies too! When you’re poor, small things take on more significance. Try to include at least one item you’d choose as a treat for your kids. Someone else’s kids will love you.
11. Consider donating cash. Large organizations can get much better deals on food than you can. With $10, Feeding America (feedingamerica.org) can provide 90 meals to hungry people.
12. This time of year, as well as the rest of the year, the important thing is to do what you can. Those who can’t donate could volunteer instead. Just know that giving food to hungry people is awesome.
Manna from Heaven
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Mark 12:30-31