According to a 2014 study by Feeding America, 46.5 million Americans utilize a food bank. Lisa Tomasi, Philanthropy Expert and Founder of e-giving site YouGiveGoods, stresses that while many may feel that a small effort isn’t enough to make a change, every little bit helps someone who is facing hunger. Here are Lisa’s tips for fighting hunger in your community this month (and any month).
- Advocate. Use your voice to spread the word about hunger in your community. Social media has made this quite easy to do. Alert your online community that we are in the midst of Hunger Action Month and about the plight of the hungry in their own backyards. Share quotes and statistics about hunger and ask them to support their local hunger relief organization.
- Volunteer. Most food banks, pantries and soup kitchens rely on volunteers to make their operations work. Volunteers can sort donations, stock shelves and help with distribution. Volunteers can also frequently help from home in the form of virtual volunteering. Contact your local hunger relief organization to see if you can utilize your specific skills to help them with business operations like accounting, marketing, website and administration.
- Run a food drive. You can really increase your impact by organizing your own food drive. Food drives run in conjunction with your company, school, church or group tend to have the best results. And, always add an online component to your traditional drive (or run your online drive alone). Use YouGiveGoods.com to run an online drive for your local food pantry. The online drive service is free to use, easy to share on social media, and simple for supporters to shop online for brand-new most-needed food items which are shipped directly to the pantry at the close of the drive.
- Donate money. Hunger relief organizations need monetary donations to operate. Any size donation will be welcomed.
- Donate food. Don’t just walk by the donation bin at your school, store or company. Make a point to donate food whenever the opportunity arises.
We also asked her how to get kids involved in fighting hunger and helping families. Here is what she said:
Get the kids involved. Kids have loads of energy, creativity and enthusiasm. Talk to your kids about ways they can make a difference in your community– they are never too young to start. Fun activities like a car wash or lemonade stand can collect money for a cause. Kids love using the technology at YouGiveGoods.com to run an online food drive. They can tap into their social networks and learn how to use social media for good. Setting up a drive is simple, free, fun and most importantly, gets much-needed food items delivered to local food pantries. I hope do this with my girls for a new version of a food drive to excite and engage them.
Make a difference as a family. What better way to motivate and bond a family than to work together for a greater good? Studies show that kids that see parents and grandparents volunteering are more likely to volunteer and donate to charity as they get older. Choosing your cause, organizing and planning the event, no matter how small, will be some of the most rewarding family time you’ve ever spent. Imagine how you will all feel when you have accomplished your goal, together.
Thanks to Lisa and Feeding America for these tips. Together we can help our fellow Americans who are food insecure.