Friday, December 11, 2009

Giving Back and Loving it!

Opportunities to give back have been offering themselves up to us like crazy! I realize it’s the time of year when they do, but being on the lookout for them has made them all the more obvious to me.  It also doesn't hurt to work for a company that is all about giving back.

First, my company is in the midst of our annual food drive for Second Harvest Food Bank. We make it all the more fun in two ways:

- To begin, they divide us up into 3 groups (I’m a Pumpkin Pie) and we all compete to be the group that gives the most. The winners receive a pizza party, and currently the leaders are the Pumpkin Pies! (Hey, a little incentive never hurt anyone!)

- Second, my generous company matches all donations, so Second Harvest is easily looking at over $12,000 from us to help feed people this holiday season. Isn’t that fantastic?

In case you’re interested, here are a few facts from Second Harvest. If you feel so led, you can go to their site here and make a donation.

Second Harvest
Our goals for this year's Holiday Food and Fund Drive are to collect $10 million and 1.9 million pounds of food.

Even as the economy begins to recover, the requests for help continue to grow since joblessness is still on the rise. Last year our multi-lingual Food Connection hotline received more than 40,000 calls, a 44% increase over the previous year. Currently, more than two thirds of requests are from first time callers who have never before needed food assistance.

In addition to the increase in people coming to us for help, the Food Bank is also struggling with a decrease in canned food and shelf stable donations. The majority of the food we distribute is donated food and as large manufacturers and retailers tighten their belts, the Food Bank has to turn to the community and other sources to make up those lost donations. We are in need of high-quality, high-protein items such as tuna, soups and chili, as well as canned fruit and canned vegetables.

SF Food Bank
In San Francisco, 150,000 people struggle each day to feed themselves and their families. Hunger manifests itself as a consistent lack of enough food to meet nutritional requirements. It can mean fewer meals each day and poor-quality food that is calorie-rich but nutrient-poor.

150,000 is the number of people who live at or below 150% of the federal poverty line: $27,465 per year for a family of three. Very often, these families lack the resources to provide enough food to consistently nourish themselves.

60% of the households who receive weekly groceries through the Food Bank include at least one working adult, while 18% of our clients are homeless. Hunger frequently strikes the most vulnerable people in our communities: 1 in 4 children and 1 in 4 seniors do not have access to enough food to meet their nutritional needs on a regular basis.

Our next opportunity to give back came from our Giving tree at work. Just ask me how much I love my company. I picked three recipients for our family to purchase gifts for. Specifically, a little girl who wants dress up clothes, a little boy who wants Legos and an older boy who wants “anything football.” Hmmm….I just described Noelle, Charlie and Rick! We’re excited about our trip to Target this weekend to fulfill their Christmas wishes!

Lastly, my company (yet again!) encourages us to take time off every quarter to donate our time to a charity, and they even help us by creating those opportunities for us. Later this month Charlie and I will be spending a couple of hours at a Family Giving Tree warehouse doing whatever needs doing. Sorting gifts, itemizing gifts, wrapping gifts, delivering gifts – we won’t know until we get there, but it’ll be fun to do some volunteering with my son. I hope to make this a common trend for he and I, and eventually my daughter, as she gets older.

There you have it – the season of giving is here, and it feels great to be giving!

Merry Christmas!


Ranch Girl said...

Very cool - ALL of it!

Dawn said...

OH Merrie, that is fantastic!! I used to be the director of our church's food bank. What a way to help people... to quiet those growling tummies. So glad you are a part of helping Second Harvest! Our church also has a giving tree and groups within our church "adopt" families for Christmas. They get gifts, food staples, and Christmas dinner vouchers. It is a lot of fun and feels so good to be blessing others! BTW see you Saturday!