Food for Thought – Make a Difference Day
October 24, 2009 • Food for Thought
Today is USA Weekend’s Make A Difference Day, a national day established to organize millions of Americans and motivate them to volunteer in their communities and make a difference. While I applaud the effort, I firmly believe we can only strengthen our communities by volunteering and making a difference throughout the year, not just on one single day.
I think most of you know where I devote my energy around philanthropy – it’s in the food world. First up is Share Our Strength, committed to the simple sounding but very difficult task of ensuring that no kid grows up hungry in America.
Operation Frontline is the part of Share Our Strength that teaches the Eating Right curriculum, a 6- week series of classes to teach healthy heating on a budget. Classes are led by an OFL coordinator (Megan, Victoria, Betsy, Emily, and Christina from OFL Colorado are all tireless in this task) and are divided into a nutrition portion taught by a volunteer Nutrition Educator and a cooking lesson, which I teach as a volunteer Chef Educator. In the spirit of working towards ensuring that there is No Kid Hungry, I also create meals and serve them to the students and tutors at the Whiz Kids tutoring program at Confluence a couple of times a month.
My second passion is around local food, and that means more than just belonging to Monroe Organic Farm’s CSA, more than seeking out local farmers and ranchers for Colorado grass fed meat, and more than patronizing local farmers’ markets. It also means giving of my time to support them, and my current efforts include creating a CSA seasonal cookbook for Monroe that will be available at next year’s sign up.
- Slow Food – learn about how to support good, clean, fair food
- Slow Food Seed to Table – help students in school gardens
- Find a CSA – sign up for one for next year and support farming in your community by eating local
- Project Angel Heart – help provide nutritious meals to people battling life-threatening illnesses
- Support a local food bank in your area – Food Bank of the Rockies and Bienvenidos Food Bank are two in the Denver area – by volunteering your time and supporting them with cash or food donations
- Join the fight against childhood hunger by volunteering with Operation Frontline as a nutrition educator, chef educator, shopper or class assistant
- Support Share Our Strength by attending a local Taste of the Nation event in your area or volunteer to work one of the events
- Organize a Great American Bakesale in your kids’ school or your neighborhood
- Check out Volunteer Match where you can key in your geographic location and interest – here are the current volunteer opportunities involving food in the Denver area
- Visit United Way’s online database of volunteer opportunities
- Scan Volunteers of America to find opportunities to make a difference in your community
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