Feed Local: Putting the “Giving” in Thanksgiving

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? It’s the question of the week, right?! We’re all asking each other whose house are you going to? and whatcha making? and who’s cooking? We’re digging up those old family recipes or searching the interwebs for last-minute genius side dishes and turkey hacks. We’re pulling out the stretchy pants and planning on lively, filling dinners followed by food coma and football. And leftovers — ohmergawd, leftovers! Not only are we planning how we’ll fill ourselves to capacity and beyond on Thursday, but how we’ll indulge in it all over again on Friday (pumpkin pie for breakfast, of course!). Hey, I’m right there with you.

Fixin's for Thanksgiving dinner!
Fixin’s for Thanksgiving dinner!

And yet, as I’m making my own Thanksgiving menu and dreading that last-minute trip to the grocery store, I’m also thinking about the fact that not everyone in the 650 will be celebrating with big meals. And some families will struggle to celebrate at all.

In San Mateo county, the heart of the 650, almost 12% of the population is food insecure. (Want more info? Check out Feeding America’s website.) I don’t want to be a big downer after I got you all excited about a food fest that is less than 48 hours away; I really don’t. And yet, the fact remains that food insecurity exists right here in our community, and no one should have to miss out on a healthy, home-cooked meal for the holidays. Good news: there’s something you can do to provide food to those who need help this holiday season. (And that would be the “giving” part of Thanksgiving.)

Feed Local: Whole Foods Market “Food Four More” Program
Did you know that $10 can provide a meal for a family of four? From now until December 24, Peninsula-region Whole Foods Markets are running a donation program called “Food Four More,” which benefits Second Harvest Food Bank. It’s simple and brilliant.

Stop in at a Whole Foods Market in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Redwood City, or San Mateo to support "Food Four More" with a donation
Stop in at a Whole Foods Market in Los Altos, Palo Alto, Redwood City, or San Mateo to support “Food Four More” with a donation

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Visit a Peninsula Whole Foods Market store: Los Altos, Palo Alto, Redwood City, or San Mateo.
  2. Make a donation to Food Four More at any checkout stand.

The money goes to Second Harvest, which uses it to feed the 1 in 10 people in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties who rely on their services. While any amount is helpful, needed, and welcomed, I like knowing how my dollars translate in terms of a meal: $10 = food for four people. Simple. Think about it — for what you might spend on two pumpkin spice lattes, you can give a local family a lunch or dinner. How cool is that?!

If you shop at Whole Foods, simply add the donation to your grocery bill when you check out (your cashier should ask you, but feel free to volunteer). Even if you’re not a Whole Foods shopper, you can stop into any Peninsula WF location and make a donation at a register — no purchase required!

Feed Regional: Farm Fresh to You “Donate-a-Box, Help Heal Hunger”
Want to extend your gift of food beyond the 650? Farm Fresh to You, the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program of Capay Farms, is now offering the opportunity to donate a box of fresh, organic produce to a regional food bank within California. If you’re a Farm Fresh to You customer, log into your Farmstand to learn the different ways in which you can donate. Donations can be made at any time or as part of your weekly box customization.

Fresh, organic produce like this could be donated to a California food bank of your choice
Fresh, organic produce like this could be donated to a California food bank of your choice

If you’re not a Farm Fresh to You customer, you can still particpate in this donation program without subscribing to the service or making any other purchases (<– clicky here to find out more). You can choose the box size for donation and the food bank partner that will receive it. If you’d like to make a recurring donation, you can create an account the website.

See how easy it can be to share the holiday spirit and help feed your community? Are there other food-related programs in the 650 or beyond that you support (or would like to)? Share your suggestions in the Comments section below.

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