The Holidays: Not a Celebration for Everyone

Sunday, December 18, 2011
The December holidays conjure up memories of baking with my mother, neighbors dropping off trays of cookies and fruit cake at our home, and a tables covered with food, plates filled to the brim with filet mignon, turkey and all the trimmings.

But beyond the laughter at the table, there is silence in many homes in our community during the holiday season. For those affected by poverty and hunger, the holidays are a time filled with emptiness and loss. It's hardly an occasion worthy of celebration those who suffer from hunger.

It's heartbreaking to know that a member of my community suffers from hunger. It could be my neighbor. A friend's neighbor. It could be I.
Thankfully, there is help for the hungry. Many communities have food banks, pantries, churches and other civic organizations which collect donations in the form of both food and money to alleviate hunger. There are varying distribution channels, but the end result is the same: providing food to those who are in desperate need.
In January, the ability to make a contribution will get even easier and will include an added incentive. Deborah Smith, the founder of Jersey Bites, will roll out 3SquareDeals. In cooperation with restaurants, food professionals, nutritionists, and cooking event organizers, Smith's 3SquareDeals will offer discounts to customers. For example, through 3SquareDeals, one will have the ability to purchase a $20 gift certificate to a particular restaurant at a discounted price, say $10. A portion of each sale will, in turn, be given to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

"Since the birth of Jersey Bites, I have always felt it was our duty to not only talk about the sexy side of food and dining out, but to also talk about the serious side of food; its safety, its purity, and its scarcity. I believe we as "foodies" or "food enthusiasts" or whatever you like to call yourself, should have a heightened awareness regarding those who cannot share our passion, or even the comfort of staples in the fridge.", Deborah Smith elaborates. Smith's efforts are to be commended.

Please consider, this holiday season, making a donation to or volunteering at a food bank or pantry in your community. The hand you lend will be one that feeds a hungry mouth.

Also, take a moment to reflect on how prosperous you are to have food on your table, in your refrigerator, and in your pantry. Not everyone is so blessed.

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