Don’t get me wrong, Christmas is a great time of year. But as I’m recovering from the glut of presents, the copious amounts of cookies and sweets I’ve consumed, and the amount of credit card debt I’ve racked up buying gifts and decorations, I always resolve that I’ll offset my good fortune in the coming year by finding a few good causes to contribute to not just at the holidays, but throughout the year — when they need it the most.
If you’re interested in doing the same, here are a few great food-related causes to consider, which could use not only your money but your help:
This Christian organization advocates for changes to policies and programs that would help alleviate hunger. Its Bread for the World Institute provides policy analysis on hunger and strategies to end hunger. You can get involved by writing letters to Congress and/or to local newspapers.
Action Against Hunger is a relief organization that provides sustainable access to safe water and long-term solutions to hunger. It focuses particularly in developing countries, areas of conflict, and sites of natural disasters. Volunteers can help organize events, secure pro bono resources for the organization, and assist with campaign work or media outreach.
Far more than a hunger-relief organization, Heifer International works by giving a source of food, such as livestock, to families so they can learn to be self-reliant. The organization also provides environmentally responsible agricultural training to people in more than 50 countries. There are a number of volunteer opportunities and fundraising ideas to support the organization.
This organization works with Boston-area teens to farm lots in both urban Boston and a 31-acre farm in rural Massachusetts. The pesticide-free food they grow is donated to local food shelters and sold through community-supported agriculture and at farmers’ markets. People in the Boston area can volunteer to help work in the gardens.
This organization’s goal is to conserve crop diversity, whether through managed nature reserves, in seed banks, or in living plant tissue samples. Donations help maintain the resources, such as the cold-storage facilities for seeds, but the organization can also use help getting the word out by writing to government officials or helping to educate others about the importance of crop diversity.
Want more options? Find more food-related charities here.
P.S. You can find out just how philanthropic a charity you are thinking of supporting is by checking out the American Institute of Philanthropy’s list of Top-Rated Charities. The list grades charities according to, among other factors, how little the organizations spend on administrative costs.