Thanks(4)giving

It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: hunger

Week 51-Meet me in… Day 2-St. Louie

I have to admit, I had never even heard of the movie “Meet Me in St. Louis” until seeing the Sex and The City movie.  That doesn’t change the fact that I love saying, “Meet me in St. Louie!” randomly during the week.  Plus, I have actually been there (albeit once) and I loved it. I’ve also bent thinking about the Midwest a lot because Thanksgiving break is upon us and lots of grad students are returning to their corn-fed roots for the next week.  It is true that St. Louis the gateway to the Midwest, but really it’s so much more than that.  I’m thankful that I put aside my automatic disdain for all things west of the Mississippi and learned to love St. Louie.

You can find Nelly is St. Louie

I dunno what you first thing of when you hear St. Louis, but for me, it’s Nelly.  That’s right, the rapper.  Well of course I think of my friend Rachael who is from St. Louis, but then I automatically think of us singing Nelly songs on the drive to Missouri.  While Nelly may come across as a hard-core rapper he really is a softie at heart, which is why he created a scholarship to help disadvantaged students from St. Louis.  This scholarship provides two high school students with 4 years of complete financial coverage to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO.  The scholarship is open to any first year student who excels at academics and are financially in need. About 15,000 students attend Lindenwood each year and receive undergraduate or graduate degrees from one of their 120 plus programs on campus.  Founded in 1827, LU has established themselves as a dynamic four-year liberal arts college that is dedicated to providing the best education possible to thousands of students a year.  Whenever I start to think about St. Louis I always think about all the great and unique food I had while I was there.  The St. Louis Area Foodbank was not one of the places we ate, but they are the reason that there are less hungry mouths in the gateway city.  In 2009 alone, SLAF collected and distributed more than 22 million pounds of food, which was a whopping 8 million pounds more than their 2008 total of 14 million pounds.  Those numbers sound great on paper but they sound even better to the 57,100 people who rely on the SLAF each week for food assistance.  SLAF is also out there helping people realize that hunger doesn’t discriminate, and it’s not just problem in some far away land.  Hunger lives here in the United States.  Just this evening I had one of my teacher friends tell me that she is taking a bag full of food to a student tomorrow because otherwise her family won’t have any food to eat for Thanksgiving next week.  I almost cried when she told me that, and it makes me want to cry typing it.  This blog was to remind me, and you guys out there reading this, that we are so lucky.  It’s easy to be thankful each year in November, but don’t forget all those other months where your belly is full and your bed is warm.

Lindenwood University Donation

St. Louis Area Foodbank Donation

So here’s to you St. Louie!  You and I have only met once, but I’m thankful for the great people you’ve brought into my life.  You’ve got the arch, the Cardinals, a pretty nice zoo, and the Rams.  Not too shabby.  What you really have above everything else is heart.  You’re the little city that could, and you prove it over and over again.  I’ll meet you anytime.  Thanks for warming my heart to the heartland of America.

See you soon St. Louis

Week 48-Costumes and Charities, Day 6-Bob Ross

Boo!

Happy Halloween everyone!  Even though we had exactly zero trick-or-treaters tonight we still had a great evening, because Scott found out this morning that he was the winner of $150,000 grant!  Whoop whoop!  Today is definitely a happy day which totally reminds me of Bob Ross and his “happy trees”.  I have only seen one couple dress up in costume as Bob and his trees, but I still think it was one of the funniest costumes ever.  It’s one of those costumes that you automatically think, “Why did I think of that?”  Thanks for teaching us the joy of painting, and how to make happy little trees whenever our hearts desire.

Happy trees!

I am most definitely not a painter, but I am a pretty awesome doodler.  Apparently so are Betty White, Jodie Foster, Donald Trump, and John Travolta.  This Thursday Doodle for Hunger will host its twelfth celebrity auction to benefit St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters.  These original works of art, with the signature of the celebrity, will be sold after an evening of good food and fun.  SFFPS was established to help alleviate the physical and emotional hunger that poor families suffer on a daily basis.  SFFPS provides food, clothing, shelter, and other programs to help end the hunger cycle like counseling and job training to thousands of people each year.  With over 22 locations all of New York City, Long Island, and even New Jersey SFFPS it gets the thumbs up from The Donald.  It turns out that you can also Run and Spin for Hunger, and help feed hungry souls.  With Thanksgiving approaching rapidly this need weighs on our hearts more and more everyday.  Mr. Ross also inspired many young people out there to pick a brush and get their paint on.  Young Audiences for Learning Art is working to accomplish the same goal.  Started back in 1952 YALA now has 30 affiliates across the United States that provide schools in in-school, after-school, summer, and family programs that excite young people about art.  YALA brings young artists together with professionals of all types of disciplines so they are able to learn, create, and participate in any and every art they have an interest in.  They reached over 7 million children in almost 7,000 different schools just last year.  YALA believes that the arts should be an essential part of every student’s education.  I’m pretty sure Bob would agree.

Doodle for Hunger Donation

Young Audiences of Learning Art Donation 

So here’s to you Bob Ross!  You had the big fro and the endless smile that everyone loved to tune in to on PBS.  Your birthday was actually just a couple of days before Halloween, so it only seems right to give you a shout-out.  Mr. Rogers and his puppets had nothing on you and your brushes.  Thanks for bringing out the artist that is buried somewhere inside of all of us.

Week 46-I seriously hate, Day 7-Being hungry

I feel like I have been hungry all day long.  You would think that I skipped a meal, but that would be false.  Tuesdays are just such long days for me, so I don’t usually end up eating dinner until at least 8:30 pm.  Yea, I feel as old typing that as it sounds.  Today as I was mentally willing the second lab section to hurry up and finish their experiment so I could go home and grub, I realized how lucky I am to have dinner every night.  Plus Scott is an excellent cook so I’m double lucky.  Hungry has been a pretty constant topic on my blog, and even though it’s partly because I like to eat, it’s also because it has been and still is an issue.

One place where people have faced the challenge of hunger for as long as most of its inhabitants can remember is Haiti.  Yéle Haiti was founded in 2005 by singer and fellow Haitian Wyclef Jean and Jerry Duplessis and Hugh Locke.  YH was forever changed by the earthquake that rocked Haiti in January of 2010.  So for the past two years they have been focusing on programs to help improve the lives of Haitians through agriculture.  Yéle Vert commissions farms to operate tree nurseries that can provide food, building materials, and fuel.  These farmers also share their seeds, knowledge, tools, and training to help other farmers improve their crop production and incorporate planing trees into their own farming practices.  By teaching these communities how valuable trees can be, it reinforces the need for their protection for years to come.  We are only as strong as our weakest link and The Food Chain has shown that it’s pretty strong.  The only thing worse that being hungry and not having any food, is wanting to eat so badly but being too sick to keep it down.  TFC helps those with HIV have free access to food and nutritional information that enable them to make informed decisions and live healthier lives.  The hot meals that TFC provides to the doorstep of HIV fighters that are nutritionally designed just for them is a service that is priceless.

Yéle Haiti Donation

The Food Chain Donation

So here’s to you being hungry!  You are the growling in my stomach when I haven’t eaten.  Unfortunately I feel like you more times a day than I should.  You also make me crabby and my brain really fuzzy.  You’re a pain in my you know what, but I do love saying bye-bye to you because that means I’m eating a tasty treat.  Thanks for being a cute little monster that I’m lucky enough o feed three times a day.  Minimum.

The Hunger Moster strikes again!

Week 37-What’s for dinner? Day 5-Sushi Sunday

I know the naming of the nights is a little on the ridiculous side, but it breaks up the monotony of life, and gives me something to look forward to each week.  I love sushi.  I should probably type that again because I seriously love it so much that I start to go through withdraws if it’s been too long.  What people usually don’t realize is that sushi isn’t just raw fish that might kill you if it’s not sliced correctly.  There are lots of non-raw options and delicious rolls filled with avocado or cream cheese that also fuel my addiction.  Sure sushi is pretty chic but I’m just thankful Scott loves it now too.

Sake it to me, baby!

Kate Walsh, from Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, took a page out of Lady Gaga’s fashion book when she donned a sushi and sashimi dress on Jay Leno last year.  She was bringing awareness to Oceana, a great charity that focuses on ocean conservation that was featured in a post a few weeks back that you can read hereLoaves and Fishes, in Charlotte, NC not Sacramento, CA which you read about earlier this week, proves that us non-celebrities can also help out by eating sushi.  Earlier this year the Cowfish Sushi and Burger Bar donated 20%  of all proceeds from the Neon Dion roll to LAF.  The mission of LAF is to provide a weeks worth of groceries to its neighbors in need across the Carolinas.  Last year LAF provided 110,336 people with food and security during a short-term crisis in their lives.  They receive food from food banks around the area and make sure it gets in the hands of the hungry.  They may not be the Mighty Ducks, but the Anaheim Ducks know how to “roll” their way to charity success.  Each year a few of the players take a part in a sushi rolling contest to benefit the Anaheim Ducks Foundation.  The ADF helps to support any organization or program that cause a positive change in the lives of children and their families in Southern California.  In 2005, they developed the award wining program S.C.O.R.E. (Scholastic Curriculum of Recreation & Education), which teaches children how to incorporate healthy living habits and academic excellence into their everyday routine.  Over 100,000 kids have had the chance to participate in S.C.O.R.E. in the six short years since it’s beginning.  I don’t know about you but I learned two things today.  Hockey plays are so much more than jocks, and they love sushi too!

Loaves and Fishes Donation

Anaheim Ducks Foundation Donation

So here’s to you my beloved Sushi Sunday!  I look forward to you all week, and if that makes me a fat kid then so be it.  You’re even better now that I know you can be transformed into an opportunity to help others.  You’re always there to make my Sundays into a funday and I could never thank you enough for that.

It's just another Sushi Sunday...

Week 32-Ramblin’ Roads, Day 5-Virginia

In case you haven’t heard, Virginia is for lovers.  So true, and that’s probably why I love Virginia so much.  Our drive back to good ‘ole West Virginia today was lined with sunshine and beautiful views, but the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia really took the cake today.  We had such a great time celebrating the clearly visible, and totally adorable, love of Jessie and Logan and we were sad to leave this afternoon.  It’s funny how a beautiful ride can help lift your spirits, and put you in a better mood.  Virginia has the beach, the mountain, and everything in between.  Turns out the people who live in VA are just as gorgeous as the landscapes.

I know I write about food and water all the time, but it is pretty important to our everyday living, so I think that makes it ok.  Feeding America Southwest Virginia has been around since 1981 helping fill the empty stomachs of Virginians.  Their entire mission is to serve as many people for the least amount of money possible.  FASV partners with over 340 agencies such as non-profit food pantries, children’s feeding programs, shelters, soup kitchens, rescue missions and elderly care facilities. These partner agencies rely on the FASV to provide them with large quantities of food to which they may not otherwise have access.  The community that is formed has provided essential nutrition for less fortunate families in southwest VA.  Hunger can come in all different shapes, sizes, and faces.  The volunteers at FASV spend over 18,000 hours meeting, feeding, and really getting to know those faces.  If we all spend a little less time stuffing our own faces and stuffing other people’s then we’d all be a lot better off.  We’d also be a lot better off if we fed our minds with the art our communities provide for us.  The Virginia Museum of Fine Art Foundation helps raise funds and manage the investments for the museum.  The work VMFAF has been doing since 1976 has helped collect, preserve, exhibit, interpret art, and teach Virginians and beyond about studying the arts.  The museum has become internally known for their creative excellence and innovative programs, which wouldn’t be possible with the Foundation.  Each year hundreds of thousands of people are able to experience the museum in person, virtually, or by attending traveling exhibits and workshops across the state.  Oh I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.  Admission to the museum is always FREE because of the support of VMFAF.  Score!

Feeding America Southwest Virginia Donation

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Foundation Donation

So here’s to you Virginia!  Most people don’t realize that you’re special because you’re a commonwealth and not a state, whatever that means.  You were a part of the original thirteen who made our nation what it is today.  Thank you for being a place where we can go to kick back and relax, or kick it into high gear and give back to a place who has led the way in giving.

Week 29-Sweet Summertime, Day 6-Outdoor Concerts

One of my very favorite things to do during summer is go to outdoor concerts.  The weather is gorgeous (hopefully), the music is loud (definitely), and I’m surrounded by people I love (always).  Even if you’ve totally memorized every single song off an album it’s a totally different experience to hear it played live.  The energy is palpable in the both the artist and the crowd.  I also love concerts because they are a great platform for charity.  Music is something that everyone can relate to in one way or another and bring them all together.  So sit back, relax, and listen to the sweet music of giving back.

Kings of Leon summer concert last year with some great people

Rock Can Roll is just one organization that has proven how successful the combination of concerts and charity can be.  I’m not just talking about the local high school band putting on a performance either.  Crosby Stills and Nash, Brett Michaels, Maroon 5, Blink 182, and Train have all teamed up with RCR to stop hunger.  RCR coordinates events and creates projects by collecting healthy and nutritious non-perishable food (and other essential necessities) for men, women and children in need of assistance.  RCR also defines itself as a think tank to solve the huge hunger problem that our country is facing.  They believe that a simple act of kindness CAN provide dignity and relief, and that together we CAN help our neighbors.  RCR is restocking local food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters because they have harnessed the power of music.  “If music is the food of love, let it be the food of life.”  Couldn’t have said it better myself.  There have been and still are so many great benefit concerts but one of the largest and most memorable was the Live Earth concert on 07.07.07.  LE staged concerts in New York, London, Sydney, Tokyo, Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg and Hamburg  featured feature more than 150 of the world’s best music acts.  Everyone from The Police to Madonna to Kanye West and the Black Eyed Peas were all a part of the concert to combat the climate crisis.  Even if you’re not sure that global warming is a real thing you gotta admit pulling off this concert was a serious feat.  LE was also founded on the fact that the entertainment business has the power to transcend both social and cultural barriers to move the world into action.  Music makes us want to get up and move, and hopefully after reading this you’ll want to get up and move to your butt to volunteer!

rock CAN roll Donation

Live Earth Donation

So here’s to you outdoor concerts!  You are my happy place when the days are long and the nights are warm.  There is nothing better than being wrapped up in a blanket of stars and being serenaded by your favorite bands.  There are so many good things that I could say about you, but I think until everyone has a chance to experience you, they can’t feel the gratitude I feel for you.

Yes, yes it does!

Week 29-Sweet Summertime, Day 4-Cook outs

Cook outs, barbecues, parties, you know what I’m talking about right?  Those great get-togethers we all have during the summer so we can eat some tasty food and socialize with some good people.  We had such a great time at Melanie and Clay’s new house last night, and I know there will be many more cook outs there in the future.  I thought how lucky I was to be there with my friends and family several times, and tried to soak it all in.  We were also lucky to have Melanie’s family make some delicious food for us as well.  During a time when there are countless people who can’t afford food in our country it’s the little things like a well-cooked hamburger that makes me truly grateful.

We all need food on a daily basis.  Duh.  Places like the Greater Chicago Food Depository are making sure that more people are going to bed with full bellies.  Last year alone they distributed over 66 million pounds of non-perishable food and fresh produce, dairy products, and meat.  That adds up to 135,000 meals every single solitary day.  I’d say that’s a pretty good start on making a difference in our world.  Since 1978 GCFD has been feeding thousands of people and giving them the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty.  They may not be grilling out hamburgers and hotdogs but they are sure putting some smiles on people’s faces.  I also love writing about food banks and distribution centers because it reminds us all that anybody can serve food or clean up paper plates in their own communities.  I always talk about how you can donate money to the charities I write about, but sometimes your time is much more valuable than any money you could ever give.  It breaks my heart to think about anyone going hungry, but no child should ever be hungry.  Feeding America’s Hungry Children has made it their mission to end hunger in the US.  12.4 million children live in food insecure households where they’re not sure where their next meal is going to come from.  I know my Mom always told me to finish the food on my plate because there were starving children in Africa.  My brother hated that when brussels sprouts happened to be for dinner, but now we can appreciate her words of wisdom.  FAHC solicits donated food and grocery products from the nation’s food and grocery industry and distributes it to 13 member agencies in 9 States throughout America.  If you still can’t get behind these charities try skipping a meal tomorrow and I bet you’ll jump on the support band wagon.

Great Chicago Food Depository Donation

Feed America’s Hungry Children Donation

So here’s to cooking out this summer!  It’s time to dust off those picnic tables and fire up the grills and start cooking!  Summertime is all the reason we need to have a little fun thanks to you.  Let’s be serious you and summer go together like peas and carrots.  Plus everything just tastes better when it’s been cooked over charcoal, wood chips, or good ‘ole propane.  Thank you for giving us another reason to love summer.

Pllleeeeasssee 🙂

Week 24-Do I have to?, Day 1-Washing dishes

Do I have to say sorry?  Do I have to open the door for my grandma?  Do I have to say thank you?  There are lots of things that happen to us daily that we wish we didn’t have to acknowledge, let alone be thankful for.  In the short 26.5 years I’ve been alive I’ve realized a couple of things.  1-I don’t know anything.  I may think I do, but what I have to learn will always dwarf what I know.  2-You will always remember the things you didn’t want to do way longer than the things you did.  So I challenge you this week to be thankful for something/someone/somewhere/whatever you would normally just dismiss.  I’m gonna do it cause I like a good challenge, and I still have 28 weeks to write about so what do I have to lose?

When I was growing up the standing rule in our house was always whoever cooks dinner doesn’t have to do the dishes.  We’ve adopted this rule in our house now that Scott and I are married, but sometimes I really hate it.  When my belly is fully and there are some good shows on the tube the last thing I want to do is wash all those dishes.  I’m sure the hungry people of Lawrence, MA would love to wash dishes for the charity Labels Are For Jars.  The goal of LAFJ is simple.  Raise as much money as possible to feed as many hungry people are possible.  You really can’t beat the simplicity and purity that exists in an idea like that.  LAFJ has created t-shirts that are labeled with words like “nerd”, “addict”, and “geek” that help to undermine societal labeling.  They also happen to look pretty awesome, and they come in plastic jars that you can use to put loose change in to support LAFJ.  I wish I had thought of that.  I really hate washing coffee mugs.  Mary’s Meals used the mugs of celebrities to raise money for their cause of providing school kids with meals during their day.  Over 500,000 children are fed on a daily basis in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe because of the effort put forth my MM and it’s volunteers.  This may  be the only meal some of these children eat in a day, so it encourages them to attend school, get an education, and improve their future.  Also, as no real surprise, these meals also increase productivity, concentration, and the grades of the students in schools.  MM is feeding children in the short run, and feeding the potential of our next generation in the long run.

Labels Are For Jars Donation

Mary’s Meals Donation

So here’s to you washing dishes!  You may be that chore at the end of a long day that I abhor, but after today I’m still going to try to be thankful for you.  Washing dishes means I’ve eaten a meal, my belly is full, and I am blessed enough to have plates to eat off of.  You have given me a wake-up call that life isn’t handed to you on a silver platter, and if it is, you better lather that puppy up with some soap and elbow grease.

She makes it look so easy!

Week 23-Emotions, Day 6-Hungry

hun·gry  (hnggr)adj.

1. Experiencing a desire or need for food.

I’m not really sure that hungry is an emotion but after missing lunch today, it sure felt like it was.  It’s so funny that some days missing lunch doesn’t really affect me, and other days it turns me into crazy hungry monster.  I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off this morning washing clothes, cleaning dishes, and finally putting away some odds and ends from my CA trip.  Lunch just happened to be at the bottom of my to-do list.  Oops.  The funny part is, I get a daily email from the fabulous stylist to the stars Rachael Zoe, and today’s message was titled “Clutch For a Cause.”  Obviously my interest was immediately piqued.  What was the cause you ask?  Hunger.  Thank you hunger for smacking me in the face with a dose of reality, and reminding me how lucky I am even if I miss lunch.

Even though I can’t afford the 500 dollar Judith Leiber clutch, I did check out the other merchandise the FEED Projects had to offer and The Feed Foundation.  FP makes good products that help feed the world.  For any of you Real Housewives fans out there, you might remember that Alex McCord from the RH of NY wore a FEED dress to the opening night of the opera a few years back.  The great news is they have a TON of great products like teddy bears, t-shirts, bags, and bracelets that are both charitable and fashionable.  In case this isn’t totally obvious by now, I love it when I can buy stuff for me and give back to others.  In case they haven’t already won your heart, FP believes in using environmentally friendly and artisan-made materials for their products.  FP is feeding the world one bag at a time.  TFF is the non-profit behind the FP fashion house.  Their mission is to raise awareness and funds to provide meals for school children around the world.  There are almost 400 million children who go to bed hunger every single night of their little lives.  It broke my heart when I read this.  Here I am thinking about how hungry I was today, when these innocent children experience this feeling 365 days a year.  The good news is, TFF and FP has worked with the UN World Food Program to provide over 50 million meals for kids.  Oh, did I mention they have accomplished that life-changing number in just three short years?  I don’t know about you but I just found my new role models.

FEED Projects Products (Seriously, they’re awesome)

The FEED Foundation Donation

So here’s to you hungry!  You create that rumbly in our tumbly when it’s time to eat our next meal.  You’re also that nagging feeling in the pit of too many children’s stomachs.  You also seem to create these crazy cravings that we can never really fulfill no matter how hard we try.  Ice cream, Doritos, soda, and candy seems to be the only thing that will shut you up sometimes.  Thanks for that daily reminder that food fuels our mind, bodies, and souls. 

Week 20-Social Networks, Day 1-Twitter

Tweet, tweet!

Week 20?  Really?  I can’t believe it’s already here, but I’m super excited for the theme this week.  Social networks have reached far beyond their initial college audiences into the mainstream population, and are taking it by storm.  I swore I would never get a Twitter account, but in the name of promoting great causes I decided to sign up so I could tweet my blogs.  Then in the past couple of my days my multimedia savvy Mom suggested I start following more causes on Twitter, because they in turn would follow me and (hopefully) read my blog.  I engaged her ingenious plan yesterday, and I’ve doubled my followers in two days!  I still don’t know how to use tweet or twitter in a sentence but I am thankful for the free press this social network is bringing my blog and all the other great causes out there.

While I was taking a little exploratory stroll around the Twitter world today I came across this great account called @TwitCause.  As I read the tag line, ” TwitCause is part of BroadCause which promotes nonprofits & enables passionate people to support causes they care about”, I knew this was someone I wanted to follow.  BroadCause is another social platform where people can go to find, support, and promote charities.  Every Thursday TwitCause tweets an update that highlights the non-profit for the week.  Followers retweet the message and spread the word even further and follow the non-profit raising more awareness and hopefully raising more monetary contributions.  Sure money is great, but sometimes pushing that little retweet button is just as powerful in a world bridged together by social networks.

Paddle Jam slams!

On my tour I also found one of the coolest ideas for raising awareness of non-profits ever@paddlejam is the twitter account for the awesome event called Paddle Jam which combines ping-pong, celebrities, non-profits, and good times.  Last year they held a March Madness style table tennis tournament where celebrities came out to support a non-profit of their choice.  Rock The Vote, represented by the musicians LMFAO, took home the Paddle Jam 2010 trophy but the giving is never over.  Seven other non-profits joined in the tournament to help raise money and awareness for all of the causes involved.  PJ also tells you how you can support their causes without opening your wallet.  Which raises the new question, is the tweet mightier than the dollar?

Follow @TwitCause or donate to this week’s cause-Action Against Hunger

Follow  @paddlejam or donate to one of the great teams from the tournament

And follow me @Thanks_4_giving 🙂

So here’s to you Twitter!  I’m still not sure when to tweet, retweet, twead, or tweeter, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out in time.  You connect celebrities and fans, musicians and groupies, and supporters and causes.  You have revolutionized the way people communicate with each other and totally changed the definition of word of mouth.  Some people love you, some people may not understand you, and some people may not even like you, but no one can deny you are a social network that is atwitter with lots to be thankful for.