Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Feed the World, Part II: More Holiday Food Donations and Volunteering Ideas

This was originally posted in December 2008. It’s the sequel to this post, with entirely different websites.

For your holiday reading pleasure, we’ve compiled a list of 33 more sweet philanthropies. Like 2007’s list, there’s a special emphasis placed on food and water organizations (it’s a cooking blog, after all), with a few extras added in just for fun. So, if you’re looking to make a donation in a beloved foodie’s name, you can’t go wrong starting here. Merry Christmas, everybody!


This site includes a vocabulary game, with the proceeds going directly toward WorldVision, a philanthropic org focusing primarily on poverty-stricken kids.

Association for India’s Development
“(AID) is a volunteer movement committed to promoting sustainable, equitable and just development … AID initiates efforts in various interconnected spheres such as education, livelihoods, natural resources, health, women's empowerment and social justice.” – Charity Navigator description

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill recently retired from Microsoft to throw all his energy into this, one of (if not THE) largest private philanthropic organization on Earth. Foodies might be particularly interested in Nutrition initiatives, Priority Diseases and Conditions (many of which are related to drinking water), and Emergency Relief. The fund doesn’t generally accept donations directly, but you CAN contribute to grantee organizations, which can be found here.

Bread for the World
A bi-partisan Christian philanthropy that welcomes and assists folks of all faiths, Bread for the World encourages advocacy and action to help end hunger at home and abroad.

CARE's mission is helping the poorest of the poor A) survive, and B) eventually learn to sustain themselves. Food-wise, they focus on nutrition, agriculture, water, sanitation, and emergency relief in places like Afghanistan, Angola and El Salvador.

Central Asia Institute
“CAI’s mission: To promote and support community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

charity: water
This Jennifer Connelly-supported philanthropy helps provide clean drinking water and safe wells to communities around the world.

If any of y’all read Rocks in my Dryer, you know Shannon sponsored a little boy through Compassion, a Christian organization aiding kids in Africa, and got the chance to visit Uganda to meet him. Her story and pictures are positively inspiring, and there are more details on Compassion’s website on getting involved.

It's a word game! It's a philanthropy! It's both in one! Each time you answer a FreeRice vocabulary question, you donate 20 grains of the stuff to the U.N.'s World Food Program.

Heifer International
Heifer International gives livestock (and plants) to disadvantaged families as the foundation of a sustainable and independent livelihood. The animals provide sustenance (as milk, eggs, or sometimes meat) and an opportunity for income. Also, as animals tend to make more animals, it's a gift that grows and builds wealth.

While Idealist isn’t so much an organization as an umbrella website for non-profits around the world, it IS a fabulous place to research volunteering opportunities, donation possibilities, and even job openings. There are special search categories for farming, agriculture, poverty, and hunger if you’d like to keep it food-relevant.

A microlending organization connecting individuals directly to the folks they’re donating to, Kiva is one of (if not THE) first website of its kind. What happens is this: you choose an entrepreneur anywhere in the world and loan them a pre-designated amount of cash. Over time, they grow their business, lift themselves out of poverty, and pay you back. I've been a member since 2007, and can't say enough good things.

Partners in Health
In 2007, I read the best biography I’ve ever laid my eyes on, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. It’s about the life of Dr. Paul Farmer, a U.S. physician who’s dedicated everything to providing health care for the poorest of the poor around the world. Partners in Health is his baby. It’s done wide-scale wonders in Haiti and Russia, and is now moving on to Rwanda with the help of TED and Bill Clinton. If you’re interested, volunteering and donation information can be found here, and I can’t recommend the book highly enough.

The Tap Project
“Lack of clean and accessible drinking water is the second largest worldwide killer of children under five. To address this situation, a nationwide effort is launching during World Water Week called the Tap Project, a campaign that celebrates the clean and accessible tap water available as an every day privilege to millions, while helping UNICEF provide safe drinking water to children around the world.”

UN World Food Program
Focusing on emergency situations, relief and rehabilitation, development, and special operations, the UN World Food Program feeds millions of people in dozens of countries worldwide.

World Hunger Year
Simply, “WHY advances long-term solutions to hunger and poverty by supporting community-based organizations that empower individuals and build self-reliance, i.e., offering job training, education and after school programs; increasing access to housing and healthcare; providing microcredit and entrepreneurial opportunities; teaching people to grow their own food; and assisting small farmers.” Nice.


Americans for Fairness in Lending
AFFIL is a consumer advocate group that "exists to raise awareness of abusive credit and lending practices and to call for re-regulation of the industry." Their website is up to its eyeballs in useful information, including gobsmacking stats on how minority-heavy neighborhoods are specifically targeted for high-interest loans.

Bake Me a Wish
Bake Me a Wish is a New York-based baking business that ships the sugary confections to and from U.S. troops overseas. While not a philanthropy per se, you can make donations.

“Teams of architects, engineers, and students mentored by these professionals, compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food. … At the close of the exhibitions all of the canned food used in the structures is donated to local food banks for distribution to emergency feeding programs that include pantries, soup kitchens, elderly and day care centers.” How neat is that?

Charity Wines
It’s an age-old question: how can one drink profusely, support her favorite shortstop, and donate to a major philanthropic organization all at once? The answer, my friends, is Charity Wines.

The Girl Scouts
I was a member of GSoA from age eight through my senior year of high school, and I loved every single second of it. Girls Scouts exposed me to cultures, people, and experiences I never would have met or seen otherwise. 14 years later, I’m still friends with half the women in my troop, many of whom have kids of their own. There might be brownies or juniors combing your ‘hood slinging Samoas right about now, and while they’re not exactly the healthiest foods in the world, the money goes to one of the best organizations on the planet. Indulge.

Louie’s Kids
Louie’s Kids “is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that raises funds to help treat childhood obesity … [it] works to find the best treatment options to meet the needs of each child.”

NFL Play 60
To sum, “NFL Play 60 is a health and fitness initiative created by the National Football League to inspire kids to play for 60 minutes a day and eat well … In addition to national reach through PSAs and online programs, Play 60 is also implemented at the grassroots level through NFL's in-school, after-school and team-based programs all with a focus on the importance of physical fitness and healthy lifestyles.”

Ronald McDonald House
Some branches are run much better than others (see this Charity Navigator page), but their mission – to promote childhood health and assist seriously ill kids – is a solid one.

Share Our Strength’s Great American Bakesale
In GAB’s own words, it’s “a national campaign that mobilizes Americans to end childhood hunger by holding bake sales in their communities.” This seems like a really good opportunity to get kids involved with volunteering, too.


Bread & Life
A Catholic food charity based out of Brooklyn since 1982, B&L’s mission is “to bring food to the poor and accompany them on their journey to wholeness by providing necessary services.” They have a pantry, soup kitchen, mobile soup kitchen and are involved with nutrition counseling and community supported agriculture, as well.

Capital Area Food Bank of Texas
When Hurricane Ike devastated large swaths of the Lone Star State, and CAFBT was right in there, helping with aid and supplies.

Charity Navigator’s Food Bank Page
CN’s received several mentions here before, but this particular page will point you directly to food pantries and distribution services in your area, from Alameda to West Texas. The star ratings will tell you how efficiently run your particular bank is, so you can pick and choose as you like.

Food Gatherers
Based in Ann Arbor, Food Gatherers “exists to alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes in our community by: reducing food waste through the rescue and distribution of perishable and non perishable food; coordinating with other hunger relief providers; educating the public about hunger; and developing new food resources.” Aces.

Food Lifeline
Seattleites, listen up! “Each year Food Lifeline rescues and distributes nearly 22 million pounds of food to its network of food banks, meal programs and shelters in 17 counties of Western Washington, feeding nearly 600,000 hungry people.”

Forgotten Harvest
A rescue-and-distribute system serving the greater Detroit area, FH saves about eight million pounds of food per year from restaurants, caterers, etc, to donate to people in need.

Humane Society of Missouri
Last year, the HSoM rescued 360 abused animals from a single property. They can be supported through this site.

One Dollar Diet Project, supporting the Encinitas Community Resource Center.
In 2008, Christopher and Kerri, two American social justice teachers, attempted to survive on $1 worth of food per day (each) for an entire month. This year, they have a book! Neat.

Readers, any suggestions? Add ‘em in the comments!

(Photos courtesy of Business Week, UW, Omaha Forums, and Muscatine.)

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