On Thursday, the three of us (the HOTY, Excitedly Eight and I) are going to serve Thanksgiving Dinner at a homeless shelter in Santa Barbara. Now that Excitedly Eight is old enough, it is a tradition that we are going to begin not only annually, but monthly. I’m a huge believer in cultivating a philanthropic heart, mind and body in young children and now is the perfect time.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity tour a Food Bank in Santa Barbara. Boy oh boy was I ever inspired….so much so that I’m going to do an entire post on it; however in the meantime, I would like to share the most important message from the Food Bank: please give us what we need. Below is great list that I found that includes many the things needed to fill the shelves – especially this time of the year.
- Cash or checks – this one came up the most. Food banks can stretch your dollar as much as three times via government programs. Also, they can use money to buy large quantities of the most needed items, rather than having to rely on volunteers to sort and organize the random items that are donated.
- Meals in a can (stew, chili, soup)
- Tuna and canned meat
- Peanut butter
- Bags of individually wrapped silverware from take-out orders. Heaven knows that we have a drawer-full of them. The Silver Lining is that I saved them for some reason, THIS reason!
- Canned foods with pop-top lids
- Low-sugar cereals
- 100% fruit juices in single serving boxes
- Dried fruits because refrigeration is not always possible.
- Canned fruit packed in juice
- Canned vegetables (low salt)
- Allergy-friendly foods – Dairy-, Gluten- and Peanut-free options.
- Personal sized toiletries found in hotel rooms.
- Toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste.
- Re-usable shopping bags to transport everything, often via public transportation.
My top suggestion is to call your local Food Bank and ask what they need. This is the season to give Thanks and there is no better way to say thank you than to pay it forward!