The Holiday season is rapidly approaching. This is the time I usually think about single parent families and people having a hard time making ends meet. Then I just want to slap myself.
So while I post this workplace philanthropy idea now, I would encourage all to be better than me and to think about these families throughout the year, not just at holiday time. Afterall, there are people everyday that go to bed hungry-- not just at holiday time.
A successful Meal Basket event can be divided into three stages.
Stage 1: Locating and gaining information about needy families in your area.
Teaming up with local service organizations that assist families in need is the best way of locating and understanding the needs of certain families in your area. In many cases the service organizations will want to maintain the confidentiality of the families they serve. As such, you can deliver your baskets to the organization and they will be responsible for making sure the family gets the items. Important questions to ask the service organization include:
- How many people are in the family?
- What are the ages of the people in the family?
- Are there any allergies of which you need to be aware?
- Does the family have an operational kitchen in which to prepare a meal? (some people have difficulty paying for utilities or may be living out of a shelter or travel trailer)
Stage 2: Gathering up the items for the meal basket
Based on the information learned about the families/people for whom you will collect items, figure out a menu that they will enjoy. I've prepared some menu ideas and ingredients lists if you need help (see end of post for downloadable document). Depending on your family you may want to gather items to provide multiple modest meals rather than one huge one.
Once the menus have been determined, compose a list of items you want people to bring in and distribute the list. The perishable items on the menu provide people an opportunity to donate money toward grocery store gift cards. The combination of needs really eliminates any excuse for people not to participate.
Stage 3: Assembling the baskets/boxes and delivery
Once the items are gathered, the baskets/boxes will need to be assembled to make sure that each box has the appropriate items for the menu you've selected. Depending on the size of the families you are preparing for, the size of the boxes will differ.
Depending on the organization with whom you are working, you can also put in an encouraging message or card.
Also consider buying soups and chili mixes from one of the DP highlighted nonprofits: Women's Bean Project It would be double good for the money... you purchase what you need and a good cause gets income to help them change women's lives in Denver.
Thanks to Wordridden for photo