Share Table Program Feeds Kids And Counters Waste

To address a growing number of hungry students, New York public schools transitioned into free lunch programs. As the issue of child hunger becomes increasingly dire, schools across the U.S. are finally taking action together. With 13 million children underfed each day, institutions are launching share table initiatives, which also combat food waste.

All students need to do is leave unwanted food or drinks at a designated station where others can help themselves. Any food left at the end of the day can go towards afterschool programs, or a nearby shelter or nonprofit.

The program works around federal school lunch restrictions, in which cafeterias cannot re-serve day-old food. Additionally, states require children to take a certain amount of food — often more than they need.

“The first goal is to make sure there’s no hungry kids at school,” [said] volunteer Jennifer Janus… “The second goal is to bring the food here so we can feed the hungry people our town … This is all food that would get thrown away. Food is not trash.”

The USDA is now on board with the scheme, also encouraging schools to offer new and healthier lunch options. As the saying goes, sharing is caring!

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Spread The Charitable Holiday Cheer On A Budget

Rolling into the “ber” months has many of us anticipating the upcoming holidays. While December usually means plastic pine trees from Home Depot and the return of Starbucks’ secret menu, it is also a time of giving. Though it’s the simplest and most practical way to help others in need, we aren’t all equipped to donate money. (That is, of course, unless you’re Bill Gates) However, there are a plethora of different ways to spread the charitable holiday cheer on a budget — and it may be more rewarding than you think.

Making a physical donation is easily the most viable option for holiday busybodies. If money isn’t exactly on your side, choose to donate in kind. Considering that the Christmas season rakes in a lot of presents, there are probably household items you can choose to live without. You can pledge clothing to shelters and toys to children’s groups. Books can go to your local library and appliances or electronics can end up in Goodwill. Of course, it is best to ensure that the items in your “give” box are in good condition.

If you can spare a day being proactive, you can opt to give your time. Charities don’t only seek checks and boxes — they need people. Volunteer at a home, whether for the elderly, ill, or four-legged. Chances are, there will be a lot for you to do. A rise in nonprofit groups may leave you with a copious amount of options. If you’re unsure of where to start, figure out where your interests lie and what skills you have to offer. This is where making a list and checking it twice may come in handy. (Scoot over, Santa)

If you are keen on raising funds, plan something income-generating like a garage sale or auction. If you’re without a charity of choice, research a group that could use the money. Remember that you will make the greatest impact by sticking to one organization. A few hundred dollars will go a long way for a single cause as opposed to dividing costs between various groups.

Some people love experiencing the immediate effects of giving back. If you’re handy in the kitchen, consider running a food drive. Get your neighborhood in on the action. Decide what meals are easiest to throw together, and are most cost-efficient. Not only will you satisfy a handful of hungry tummies — you’ll bring the community together.

Needing a change? Or are you simply not so squeamish? Make a medical donation. Blood drives are common during the holidays and a perfectly suitable option for those who have managed to stay in shape. (Perhaps skip the fruit cake?) If you’re not too hot for needles, donate your hair! You’ll be surprised how many people are affected by hair loss due to medical conditions. Moms can also donate breast milk to milk banks.

Giving back can be rewarding, especially if you have the money to do so. But you can choose to be charitable every single day. The time you take to change someone’s life will likely be more meaningful than just a dollar bill.

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Be A 5-Star Hostess At Your Local Animal Shelter

For stray pups and wandering felines, an animal shelter is a stepping stone towards a forever home. Or at least it should be. Some promising residents become therapy dogs, while others find families through dating apps (yes, you read that right). Others don’t seem to hit the jackpot. If you’re an animal lover but lack the extra space for a furry friend, volunteering at a shelter might be the perfect side hustle.

As with any non-profit, making a difference isn’t just a monthly stint. Charity groups, especially those that cater to animals, require time commitments. Before diving into the deep end, arrange your schedule. Anyway, most organizations will indicate a minimum amount of hours for students or working volunteers.

Be ready to train. Depending on what you sign up for, training programs may or may not be required. After all, you don’t want to be chasing after a Road Runner stray without the proper equipment. When it comes down to actual tasks, work with your skills and strengths. Do you have an eye for photography? Snapping headshots of handsome adoptables may be the job for you. Are you hands-on and nifty with a comb? Grooming might be your thing.

Animal shelters are all about their tenants and like any hotel, require a load of maintenance. Beyond the animals, you can participate in clerical or manual work. Accountants are totally underrated, despite a slew of paperwork and finances pulled from medical care, neuter-and-spay services, and food alone. Similarly, anyone familiar with carpentry could construct pens and crates.

Supporting your cause remotely is also highly doable (and effective), especially in this day and age. Spread the word by posting your experiences on social media, handing out fliers, and inviting experts to speak at special events. If you have a nickel to spare, gather supplies. While most needed items are often laying around your storage cupboard, others are a little more elusive. Pay a visit to your local Pet Smart. Use Facebook to your advantage to call for donations. Consult sites such as Amazon or eBay — with caution!

If you’re big on events, there’s no going wrong hosting a fundraiser. Whether it be a birthday bash, a school fair, or simple food drive, donate your earnings to your favorite shelter. Even better, allot time to highlight your cause through a speech, video, or game. Learning is always fun when it’s, you know, fun.

At the end of the day, if you’re itching for a companion but can’t yet set aside the funds to care for one permanently, foster them. Falling in love with your temporary house guest may leave you in a sticky situation. Still, the outcome (usually adoption) is often heartwarming one.

Puppies in pet stores may certainly be more attractive than grown ones behind cage doors. Nevertheless, any dog’s eagerness to love and accept you are often immeasurable, regardless of breed or age. They are, after all, everyone’s favorite friend.

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The Chow Train Feeds Homeless Customers

In an age of pervading poverty, food titans do what they can to give back. In the absence of a refrigerator-mishap-gone-right, market chains usually distribute leftovers. But for a noble Texas couple, giving back is a full-time job. Joan Cheever and Dennis Quinn run The Chow Train, a food truck for the homeless.

“It started off as a family thing,” says Cheever, 60, a former journalist. “Then mothers of my friends’ kids started calling and saying, ‘Are you going to go out and serve people food? Can I send my kid over [to help]?’”

Since picking up in 2005, The Chow Train has served over 100,000 meals to needy customers. Recipes are spontaneous, depending on donations. While it can be worrisome, it makes for an exciting food adventure. The truck also caters to disaster sites, often with an extra serving of surprise goodies.

“Everyone who comes out on the Chow Train is a volunteer and they just feel wonderful afterwards,” [Cheever] says. “There are always going to be hungry people, and I think that we as a community need to do our part to help people.”

Paying it forward never ceases to put a smile on anyone’s face — and a satisfying lump in anyone’s stomach.

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Store Makes Giant Food Donation After Fridge Malfunction

In 2017, more markets and universities donated leftover food to charities than ever before. Just a week ago, Trader Joe’s did the same — but for, well, unexpected reasons. A refrigerator malfunction put 35,000 pounds of food at risk, and where better to end up than a local shelter?

“Everything that we deem is able to be consumed safely we donate to our neighbors and we’re really happy to participate in helping the community in that way,” [store captain Daniel] Sorscher said.

To clear shelves, the grocery giant also donates surplus on the daily. The Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, which runs mostly on donations, was the lucky recipient. Wanting to pay it forward, the group forwarded 4,000 pounds of goodies to a food bank.

“They just really exemplified a culture of generosity and we’re just so thankful for them,” [director of Food Service Greg] Weaver said.

Though the icy mishap was a letdown for sales, its twist ending was a pleasant surprise.

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Train Station To Shelter Homeless On Christmas

Homelessness continues to plague millions who remain under the poverty line. While the chances of a better life often remain slim, generous donors and establishments such as universities can make a difference. Opening its doors to 200 rough sleepers, the London Euston station will act as a shelter on Christmas Day.

“Many people become homeless because of relationship breakdowns so Christmas can be a particularly lonely time for some of our residents,” said Beth Norden, community and events manager at St. Mungo’s [charity].

Independently, the homelessness charity supports roughly 2,700 homeless people across the U.K. It may seem only a ripple in the water, but with over 300 ongoing projects, a single plate of food may save a life.

“This will be a fantastic fun day for our homeless friends that we will all hope could be replicated anywhere and everywhere.” Steve Naybour, of Network Rail, said.

Working over the holidays is all too much a reality. While nobody looks forward to late night shifts on Christmas, giving back could be a game-changer.

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Texas University Donates Leftover Food To Homeless

For homeless shelters across the globe, food shortages are a constant, pressing reality. On the other hand, restaurants deal with a baffling amount of leftovers. Because of this, apps like MealTech are helping facilitate donations, while select farms are growing produce for the needy. To alleviate waste issues at football games and do some good, Texas Christian University students are hauling tons of leftovers to shelters.

The donations are coordinated by the TCU Food Recovery Network, a student organization that works to eliminate food waste on campus, and Sodexo, the university’s food service company. The student organization also delivers leftovers from the campus dining hall to Union Gospel Mission twice a week.

With up to 40% of food supply wasted annually in the United States alone, it’s good to know perfectly good coleslaw isn’t being tossed. The Food Recovery Network, led by senior student Megan McCracken, also volunteers to serve their donations personally.

“People really want to help out, but they don’t know how to help out sometimes,” [food services director Robert] Clethan said. “They just need to know there’s a place like this that can use things like that.”

Thanks to TCU, Union Gospel feeds nearly 300 residents three times a day. Now that’s a feast!

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Girl Raises $1,500 For Charity With Thanksgiving Boxes

When you’re an Eagles defender or Bill Gates, giving back to the community is an easy job to sustain. For others, simpler lifestyles don’t always allow sizable donations. Still, 7-year-old Alex Fischer, determined to help feed the homeless, raised $1,500 by selling Thanksgiving boxes.

“I just thought it would be nice to do Thanksgiving food boxes for people in need. I want other people to have a happy Thanksgiving.” [said Fischer.]

To raise a goal of $150, the Fischer family threw together goodie bags filled with canned goods and stuffing. Besides door-to-door selling, Fischer opted to put up a lemonade stand. Impressed by their daughter, parents James and Lisa called for donations online.

“Your donation is twofold; you’ll be helping a family enjoy a homemade Thanksgiving meal together and also helping Alex learn the joy of helping others in her community.” [wrote Fischer’s parents.]

The whopping $1,500 will feed 100 families, while any remainder will go to the Charlotte Rescue Mission. Looks like Fischer is truly in for some holiday cheer!

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Islamic Cultural Center Aids Homeless Awaiting Storm

With over 100 million on the streets, it’s places like Studio Elmo Vemijs that are providing them with temporary refuge. In the absence of shelters in Dublin, an Islamic center in Clonskeagh is welcoming anyone in need of sanctuary as Hurricane Ophelia hits.

“We provide food and soup,” said [administrator Malek Madani]. “It’s the minimum that we can do as humanitarians. We try to contribute along with council organizations, who have helped us with beds, too.”

One of the worst storms to hit Ireland in just over 50 years, Ophelia will likely be devastating. To avoid casualties, the city has closed schools, cancelled flights, and advised motorists to refrain from being on the road. Madani is encouraging other centers across Ireland to follow suit.

“They are part of society and they should too,” he said. “We never know [who will come during the storm] but we try to do our best.”

With over 100,000 homes off the power grid, the Islamic center is setting the benchmark for other groups.

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Celebrity Chef Is Feeding Thousands Of Puerto Ricans

Houston bakers and Pizza Hut employees alike have made efforts to feed hurricane victims in Texas. We unfortunately can’t say the same for anyone in Puerto Rico — unless you’re José Andrés. The Spanish-American chef opened feeding stations for thousands of Puerto Ricans.

Since Andrés landed, he and his volunteers have been able to deliver some 8,000 meals a day to those in need. Footage posted to the chef’s Twitter account… shows sandwiches, paella and other meals being made by his crew from World Central Kitchen.

Despite the occasional ingredient shortages, Andrés and his team have powered through, inviting other chefs to join them. The Twitter hashtag #chefsforPuertoRico has allowed cooks across the nation to communicate and organize donations. (All hail the power of social media!)

Andrés [expressed]… he would like to expand his efforts to the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, which… is completely devastated in Maria’s aftermath and is likely not to receive aid until Puerto Rico does.

Andrés has also taken to online platforms to advise President Trump on proper relief etiquette. That’s a chef I don’t want to mess with.

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