It's a time of year for dining out and shopping for your family and friends, but it's also a time of year when those who have the means should think about giving back a little. With that in mind, here are four worthy causes, three of them based locally, that are helping put food on the table of those in need this December.
The combined forces of the San Francisco Food Bank and the Marin Food Bank help to end hunger in the Bay Area, and just in the last year they've given out 46 million pounds of food. Since the recession began their giving has gone up 40% just due to increased need. You can donate money, and with each dollar you give the food banks are able to give $6 in food to hungry familiies and individuals. You can collect your used BART tickets from your drawers with dimes and quarters on them and send them in through their Tiny Ticket Program. Or just by dining at Mission Chinese Food, ordering from the Munchery, or purchasing a restaurant gift certificate through the food bank, you can make a donation that way as well.
The mission of Share Our Strength, which has often been included as a charity recipient of chefs on Top Chef Masters, is ending childhood hunger in the United States. They have programs connecting children to school nutrition programs; teaching families how to cook nutritious, affordable meals; and creating more public awareness around the issue of childhood hunger. Donate to the here, or buy a ticket to one of their Taste of the Nation events locally.
Glide has been serving meals daily since 1969, and they now serve about 2,560 meals a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with special meal services at Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you donate $50 here, you can feed a nutritious meal to 13 senior citizens, who get the dining room to themselves at breakfast every day starting at 7:30 a.m.
The oldest organization in San Francisco providing meals to the homeless and poor is St. Anthony's, which just celebrated 100 years of operating their dining room, where they now serve 3,000 meals a day. A new dining room is now under construction, and they need funds more than ever. Also, they're doing a curbside donation event from December 21 to December 24 -- they're specifically asking for donations of hams, pantry items, unopened hygiene items, new socks, and cold-weather outerwear which they'll be distributing to their dining room guests on Christmas Day.