We’re winding down to the end of the 2018, and you know what that means. People are starting to think about their New Year’s resolutiosn for 2019. We’ve got a few suggestions for New Year’s resolutions that will help in the fight against food insecurity and hunger in the community. Some are one-time things you can do that will keep on paying dividends. Others require a little more effort — and pay off in bigger rewards. Ready? Here goes…
Learn More About the Food System
Add one or more of these resources to your reading list to learn more about food insecurity, the food environment and other topics that are important in the fight to end hunger.
- New Food Economy http://www.newfoodeconomy.com – a collection of current news in the area of food, from politics to climate to food science that can help feed more people
- FoodTank https://foodtank.com/ – news and opinion on innovation and food justice on a global and national scale
- Mass Food System Collaborative https://www.mafoodsystem.org/ – Keep up on what’s happening in the Massachusetts food system – programs, legislation, and initiatives
- Food Policy Action https://foodpolicyaction.org/ – a focus on advocating for just, equitable and sustainable food polices on the national level, and home of the legislative Food Policy Scorecard
- Food System Primer http://www.foodsystemprimer.org/ – A comprehensive resource covering all aspects of the food system in layman’s language. A great place to start learning
Reduce food waste in your home and workplace.
While it’s important to focus on the big picture to make big changes, change starts small. These tips from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can help.
Volunteer to help feed the hungry
Worcester offers dozens of opportunities for you to pitch in and offer immediate help to people who are struggling to put food on their tables. They range from cooking and serving meals at a a meals program to helping sort food load trucks at the Worcester County Food Bank. Check out the list of partner agencies at the WCFB website to find food pantries and food programs near you that need your help.
Donate money to organizations that fight food insecurity.
For every dollar you donate, Worcester County Food Bank can distribute $4 worth of food to partner agencies. Likewise, cash donations help smaller food pantries and meals programs keep their doors open so they can deliver services and food to people who need them. Check out the different ways to donate funds to WCFB, or contact individual food pantries and programs directly to find out how you can help.
Whether you host a food drive, contribute to a food drive, or drop off donations directly, most food pantries and food banks will make excellent use of your donations. Make sure you check with the organization about what they can accept and when they can take donations. WCFB offers useful resources and information about donating food to the Food Bank, and their list of recommended donation items is pretty applicable to any organization that distributes donated food.
Look for “painless” ways to donate throughout the year.
- Did you know you can ask Grubhub to donate your change to No Kid Hungry? All you have to do is check a little box, and every time you order food through their app or website, they’ll round up to the next dollar and donate the difference. Those quarters here and there multiplied by thousands of users really add up.
- Shop through Amazon Smile. This one costs you nothing. Just head over to smile.amazon.com and pick a charity to support. You can search for the food pantry you want to support — Worcester County Food Bank is one of those listed, along with several food pantries in Central Mass. After that, when you shop for anything at Amazon, start from their Smile page and the organization you chose will automatically receive a donation for a percentage of your purchase.
- Keep your eye out for similar opportunities throughout the year — and especially during holidays. Food companies especially frequently run promotions where they donate a set amount for every purchase of qualifying items.
Volunteer to farm or garden.
Many local farms and community gardens donate fresh produce to a food bank or nearby food pantry, and many love to have volunteers show up to help. Check out volunteer opportunities at REC’s YouthGROW organic farm, or Community Harvest.
Advocate for sensible, equitable and just food policies.
Food banks and food pantries are an important response to our immediate issues with and food insecurity, but they are not a solution. If we’re going to end hunger permanently, it will take long-term planning, sustainable changes, and sensible food policies that support a healthy, sustainable, accessible food system. You can help by advocating for the changes that will create that food system through organizing, community and action. Not sure where to start? Like the Worcester Food Policy Council’s Facebook page and sign up for Action Alerts from the Worcester County Food Bank to keep up with what’s going on and learn more about how you can help make permanent and sustainable change that benefits us all. Your New Year’s resolution can make a difference!