Good Deeds: Volunteer Time and Food

Edible Events

Most of the year we use this blog to tell you about all the great food in Houston. We tell you what gifts to buy for the food lovers on your list, where to eat a nice meal out and which hot restaurants are opening.

But this time of year, we want to remind you that for many, these words are meaningless. Thousands of Houstonians don't have the money to go out for a fancy dinner or the means to care about which new restaurant we're excited about.

So if you have time this holiday season, consider thinking about one of the following organizations. You can volunteer time, money or food to make sure that your fellow Houstonians have enough to eat in this season of plenty. Spread the love, you guys.

Here are some ways to show you care:

Host a food drive for the Houston Food Bank

If you've been trying to figure out ways to get your office more involved with the community, set up a food drive and invite your coworkers to help. The Houston Food Bank provides plenty of information about how to get a food drive started. Here's what they suggest, and it's not too late:

1. Choose a person to lead your efforts.

2. Decide on a time and place to collect food.

3. Register your food drive at

4. Pick up food drive supplies — boxes, posters, money canisters (after you register).

5. Start collecting.

You can check online for the items that the Food Bank needs most, and contact Yolanda Alexander, community events and engagement coordinator, at 713-547-8670 for more information.

Volunteer for City Wide Club's Annual Christmas Eve Big Feast

For the past 35 years, City Wide Club has hosted thousands of people for the Christmas Eve Big Feast on December 24. At the event, held at the George R. Brown Convention Center, people will receive not only hot, nutritious meals, but also, according to the organization's Web site, "clothing, household items, shoes, blankets, coats, jackets, flu shots, medical examinations, food baskets and more." City Wide Club needs volunteers for two shifts on Christmas Eve — a 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. shift and a 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. shift. The organization also needs nonperishable food items and household goods. To find out how to help by donating items or time, call 713-752-2582.

Serve a meal for Star of Hope

Because Houstonians are so generous and awesome, Star of Hope already has all the volunteers it needs to serve meals on Christmas Day. However, the Christian organization for homeless men, women and children serves three meals a day, 365 days a year. They may not need your help on Christmas, but they sure could use it on any other day of the year. Why not volunteer to cook and serve meals (and clean up afterward) on the day after Christmas, when many people are over the holiday spirit of giving and return to the daily grind? Check out the list of volunteer and service opportunities on Star of Hope's Web site to see how you can help.

Help out Houston's hungry pets

We tend to think a lot about our hungry neighbors during the holiday season, but what about the millions of animals in the city? The Houston SPCA wants to make sure that the pets of Meals on Wheels seniors aren't forgotten, so they're collecting wet and dry dog and cat food for the aniMeals on Wheels program. The HSPCA hopes to collect 48,000 pounds of pet food to feed the animals for the first six months of 2014. Every month, volunteers deliver more than 8,000 pounds of dog and cat food to more than 1,100 pets and their homebound owners, and all of that food is acquired through donations. Go to for the drop-off locations and to find out how you can volunteer to bring food to seniors throughout the year.

Best of Houston

Rest of the Best 2013
The top 5 Mexican bakeries in Houston.

Molly Dunn

Our 2013 Best of Houston® winners have been announced, and in most cases picking the best item in any category was no easy task. In order to show off all the culinary greatness Houston has to offer, we'll be rounding up the "rest of the best" in some of our favorite categories during the next several months. Bon appétit!

The second you walk into any Mexican bakery, you're overwhelmed by the wide selection of breads, pastries and desserts. Every day, Mexican bakeries in Houston churn out an incredible number of bolillosconchasempanadas and cuernos, to name but a few. And that's not all. The bakers are also creating cakes, puddings, pies and other traditional Mexican desserts.

Whether you enjoy a fresh-baked bolillo or love diving into a slice of tres leches cake, Houston is home to some great Mexican bakeries that will satisfy your culinary needs.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kaitlin Steinberg