It’s been an eventful year for Houston. As the year winds down, if you’re looking for ways to give back this holiday season, we’ve got you covered: here are nine food-related ways to give back to the community around you:
Visit the Giving Tree at A 2nd Cup: This nonprofit coffee shop sends all their profits to benefit human trafficking survivors year-round, but during this holiday season, they have a Giving Tree in-shop. You can grab a tag off the tree—anything from gift cards for hot meals or toiletries to providing books to support their culinary training program—and pay for it at the register. Just another reason to fuel up at this Heights-based coffee shop this season.
Eat Pizza and Support a Cane Rosso Rescue Angel Tree: Looking for an excuse to eat pizza instead? Visit any Cane Rosso location to pluck a card off one of their Cane Rosso Rescue (CRR) Angel Trees. CRR is a Dallas-based nonprofit that supports local dog rescue group and helps find homes for abandoned or homeless dogs. Each card on the tree features a dog currently under the care of the group with its needs and wants—all gifts go directly towards each dog's daily care as they wait to find a new home. Or if you prefer, simply "Round Up for Rescue" by using a line on your check to round up your bill—the proceeds go directly to CRR.
Toys for Tots Drive at Dish Society: Starting today, Dish Society is kicking off a Pint Night with St. Arnold, keep-the-glass style. Bring a toy of $5 minimum value to any Dish Society location by Wednesday, December 20, and you’ll receive a free gift from St. Arnold. Christmas Ale and Pub Crawl will be featured on tap and if you buy a pint, you get to keep the glass.
Volunteer at Houston Food Bank: If you haven’t spent a shift volunteering at the Houston Food Bank, the holiday is the perfect time! It’s a great activity to do with a group of friends or family members in town for the holidays since each of the 3-4 hour shifts are well-organized with a specific timeframe. You can bond with your group while sorting dry food in the Portwall Warehouse or assisting with meal prep at the Keegan Kitchen among many other opportunities. You can register to volunteer through their website.
Rescue Food with Second Servings: The mission of Second Servings, founded by Barbara Bronstein, is to rescue excess prepared food from events—banquets, convention halls, and other regulated food businesses—and deliver it to nonprofit meal providers. It’s a genius solution to two widespread problems: hunger and food waste. To support Second Servings, you can either donate money or time: as part of the Food Rescue Squad, you can help with “food rescues” either on weekdays or weekends for several hours at a time. You can join the squad by signing up on the website.
Deliver Care Packages with Lunches of Love: Lunches of Love is a nonprofit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in Fort Bend County by providing a free nutritious sack lunch during extended school holidays and weekends. You can sign up for volunteer slots to help pick up and deliver care packages, decorate bags, or help in the kitchen on the website.
Volunteer with Recipe for Success: Launched to help combat childhood obesity by changing the way kids understand, appreciate and eat food, Recipe for Success is a thriving organization in Houston that is always looking for volunteers. From weeding and mulching at Hope Farms to helping kids cook and garden in a local classroom, there are a multitude of ways to get involved. To get started, you can complete a volunteer interest survey or email the team at email@example.com.
Host a Drive for Kids’ Meals: “Meals on wheels for preschool children” is the tagline for this organization. Kids’ Meals mission is to end childhood hunger by delivering free healthy meals to the homes of preschool-aged children and providing families with resources to end the cycle of poverty. Volunteers can help out in a number of ways: helping to prepare lunch packs, deliver meals, decorate lunch bags, or even host a donation drive to collect items like 100 percent fruit juice boxes and resalable sandwich bags. During the holidays, they collect toys, canned goods and more to deliver to families. Email Kelsey@kidsmealshouston.org or visit the website for more information.
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Meals on Wheels: There are a ton of ways to get involved with Meals on Wheels beyond delivering meals: as a Chore Corps volunteer, you can help Meals on Wheels clients with dishes, laundry, yard work and grocery shopping. As a Refuge Services volunteer, you can serve as a family or employment mentor. If you want to volunteer as a group, Meals on Wheels welcomes groups to help bag pet food for the aniMeals on Wheels program, assemble meals or assist in the warehouse. Visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
As a bonus, Recovery Houston isn't a food-related opportunity, but this grassroots volunteer movement aims to give assistance to homeowners affected by Hurricane Harvey. They’re currently running a donation campaign to help affected Houstonians get back in their homes in time for Christmas. You can provide a tax-deductible donation through PayPal links on the Recovery Houston Facebook page.