Give thanks for food banks

Nov. 22, 2010, 9:46 p.m. | By Sarah Harper | 13 years ago

Contribute to a charity and help hunger-stricken families

Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate with family and be grateful for the best parts of your life, not to mention the famous holiday dinner. Roasted turkey with chestnut stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes covered in gravy, soft bread rolls, buttered squash and homemade pumpkin pie – what's not to love?

The Capital Area Food Bank provides 23 million pounds of food per year to disadvantaged families and individuals.  Photo courtesy of .

But before you dig in, swallow a few tough statistics. More than 50 million Americans are living with insecure food conditions, according to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). Maryland Hunger Solutions (MDHS) estimates one in nine local households are faced with constant hunger. Now more than ever, families below the poverty line are struggling to bring food to the table.

This year, charities across Maryland and Washington D.C. are working to raise money and food for these families. Take advantage of volunteering opportunities listed below that make and deliver food, or find your own charity. After all, 'tis the season of giving and eating!

Capital Area Food Bank

As the largest nonprofit hunger organization in the D.C. metrpolitan area, Capital Area Food Bank distributes 23 million pounds of food every year. Every dollar donated provides three meals, and volunteers are free to help in any number of ways. You can contribute to or even host your own food drive campaign, as well as prepare meals in the D.C. warehouse. Current campaigns include the Capital One Food Bank Throwdown and Gold's Gym Thanksgiving Food Drive, which both run until the end of November.

SCOpe out more information at their web site.

Food and Friends

The Slice of Life campaign is sponsored by the Food and Friends charity. Photo courtesy of .

Food and Friends started over twenty years ago as the only organization that delivered prepared meals to people with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Clients can also receive fresh groceries and nutritional counseling. The organization is also having a campaign called Slice of Life, where each pie bought from Food and Friends will pay for one day of client meals. Additionally, volunteers are encouraged to hold food drives and help prepare meals. No cooking experience is required, but be aware that you must be over 14-years-old to volunteer in the kitchen.

SCOpe out more information at their web site.

So Others Might Eat (SOME)

SOME is dedicated to providing the poor and homeless with access to health and housing services, emergency aid and education. The organization's 40th annual Trot for Hunger on Nov. 24th is the only D.C. Thanksgiving walkathon and will raise money to serve more than 1,000 meals. To burn off some calories before Turkey Day 2010, grab some friends and head out for the five-mile trek. Don't forget to register beforehand!

SCOpe out more information at SOME's web site.

D.C. Central Kitchen (DCCK)

The DCCK provides meal distribution to shelters, as well as collects from local food suppliers and converts surplus produce into 4,500 meals. Volunteers can pass out breakfast to the homeless at specific street locations, prepare meals along with kitchen staff or even pick fresh produce from local farms.

SCOpe out more information at DCCK's web site.

Bread for the City

Bread for the City's campaign, Holiday Helpings, will run until December. Photo courtesy of .

Created in 1974, Bread for the City provides food, clothing, medical attention and social services for impoverished and elderly people. Last year, volunteers distributed groceries to average of 4,985 households per month and are aiming to double that number in 2011. The organization will host the annual Holiday Helpings program until December, a campaign that will provide low-income D.C. citizens with nutritious Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Volunteers can organize and distribute food, raise money through a local charity drive or give a donation.

SCOpe out more information at their web site.

Manna Food Center

Manna acts as the main food bank in Montgomery County and has distributed more than 33 million pounds of food since 1983. The organization feeds approximately 3,300 families each month through drop-off stations and delivery services. Volunteer for Family Packing Days to fill boxes with non-perishables or sort community food donations for distribution. Additionally, Storage Village will be working with Manna throughout November on the Hands for the Hungry campaign. Give away canned food at drop off locations to ensure a holiday meal for the hungry.

SCOpe out more information at Manna's web site.

Sarah Harper. Sarah Harper loves blackberry pie, beach trips and Pushing Daisies. More »

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