I remember watching my mother cry over a gift of groceries. I recall being speechless with joy over a huge bag of day-old doughnuts, because I couldn't recall having a doughnut before that day. The doughnuts were part of a food box that my mother stood in line for every Tuesday afternoon. She would bring them home and sort them. She set aside the doughnuts that were still whole on a plate to be a special dessert that night. The doughnuts that were smashed were chopped up and allowed to dry out overnight. The next day she made them into "doughnut pudding," a simple bread pudding without added sugar.
I learned a lot from countless meals of plain beans and rice. I learned to be grateful for every single thing in my life. Though I grew up poor, I was richly blessed and I never went to bed hungry. There may never be anything more beautiful to me than a full pantry. The monotony of grocery shopping as an adult is countered by the overwhelming gratitude that I am able to go to the store and purchase what we need every week. I don't weigh the cost of new shoes against whether or not we'll be able to purchase our food.
If you've been reading this blog for very long, you may remember hearing these stories before and you might recall that a couple years ago, together with so many of you reading this today, we helped provide almost 50,000 meals for the hungry through our virtual food bank.
For over 15 years now, I've been packing sack lunches for the homeless and my family gives them away whenever we see someone in need. A smile, a conversation, a simple gift of a bottle of water and a snack bar might be enough to make a difference in someone's day.
Today, I'm partnering with the Albertsons Safeway family of stores to tell you about the national “Hunger Is” campaign taking place September 1st through September 30th, 2015 to help aid in the relief of childhood hunger in America.
We shopped at Safeway this weekend and picked up the foods to fill the sack lunches this month. My kids enjoy choosing things to pack and then helping fill the bags at home. A bottle of water, a cereal bar, some peanut butter crackers, a container of applesauce: just a handful of snack foods really, and yet, it can make a difference in someone's life.
While we love giving away sack lunches, I appreciate organizations like Hunger Is for the ability to raise awareness on a larger scale and for helping provide more foods to fill the homes of so many hungry families.
There are Two Ways to Help the Hunger Is Program:
Donate at the register - There will be donation tabs at the register in most Albertsons stores or there will be a key pin pad request in most Safeway stores.
Brand Partnerships - Every purchase of a participating product supports the Hunger Is campaign with a donation towards feeding the hungry in the local neighborhoods. Participating Brands/Products include: Con Agra - Marie Calender’s, Healthy Choice, Bertolli’s and PF Changs brands, Coke, Unilever, Kellogg’s, and Campbell’s.
The “Hunger Is” campaign is being lead by the Safeway Foundation and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF). They are managing the local distribution of funds collected by each store to the local food banks in the communities in which the Albertsons Safeway family of stores operates.