The small act of sharing a meal could have a big impact on a family in need. It can also have an even bigger impact on your own family. As they say, “Sharing is caring,” right?
Our family has a holiday tradition that sprung from a question my youngest son posed after our annual holiday party five years ago…
Mom, what about kids who can’t go to a cookie party because their families don’t have cookies?
A simple question with anything but a simple answer. How do you explain hunger and need to a six year old child? It’s rough. Our solution was to give them not just an explanation of what need was, or why it happens, but to give them a way to make it tangible, while also showing them how they could make a difference – however small.
That year a silly, bowling pin shaped, piggy bank became their “Charity Bank.” They put their own money into it. Change from spending allowances and buying gifts. Coins found in sofa cushions. Quarters given by sweet elderly family friends. All that added up to over $45. It’s grown each year since.
When December hits, they can’t wait to cash it in and hit the store. We let them shop for hats, gloves, scarves, and food that THEY like. Then we head over to a local family shelter for the kids to deliver – with much glee – the fruits of their savings.
“Tell me I forget. Teach me I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
This year we chose to help the kids focus on food with their giving. Learning from Unilever’s Project Sunlight, that so many children in America suffer from hunger on a daily basis, it seemed the perfect fit for involving the kids so that they’d learn how far-reaching the impact of sharing a meal can be.
We talked about how this problem was so big that there were likely kids they knew that are impacted. With that in mind they headed to the coin exchange and counted up this year’s savings. $59.78 in hand they went shopping.
First it was at Walmart where they hand-picked the meal items to share. Then it was over to a local grocery store that prepackages meals, then donates them to a local food bank.
I pitched in at the end to pick up some grocery gift cards to be dropped off at the local Fire Department. As the child of a Fire Chief I know that fire fighters have some of the biggest hearts known to humanity. Often they’ll keep a cache of clothing, toys, and household items to be donated to families who’ve lost things due to fires, accidents, and even just those who they meet while out in the community, that find themselves in need.
We all learned that sharing a meal doesn’t have to mean sitting down at the table together – though I highly recommend that as well. It can be as simple as one of the things we did, stopping by the local food bank with some non-perishable food items, reaching out to a local shelter or donating your time at any one of the organizations that helps feed those in need.
Need more ideas on how to help stamp out hunger? Visit Unilever’s Project Sunlight website and follow along on social media using the hashtag: #ShareAMeal. Or stop by Project Sunlight and tell them why you’d share a meal, they’ll help spread the word and we can all have a bigger impact!
disclosure: this post is part of my participation in Unilever’s “Share a Meal” campaign. I was compensated for a portion of my participation. That said, my opinions are my own. Our family will always support projects that help those in need and we hope yours will as well.