Readers Share Their “Second Helpings”

Last month I told you how blogger Brianne DeRosa of Red, Round or Green came up with a really nice idea for celebrating Food Day 2012.  She started an initiative called “Second Helpings,” and the two of us asked our readers to let us know if they’d recently done something positive with respect to food — anything from feeding a hungry person to working to promote food justice to supporting a farmer.

We promised to share those Second Helpings stories with you today, the Monday before Thanksgiving, and here are the ones I received.  (You can read Bri’s round-up on her blog here.)

Marie Goforth Little:

Bought some non-perishable healthy food items with my 9 year old today, which amounted to about four full grocery bags and we donated them to the local food pantry. Having her do this with me was the best part, because teaching her to a valuable “life lesson” in helping others.

Lee Skinner:

We had a little Halloween party at our house for the kids and asked guests to bring canned food for the food bank, so we were able to collect two full bags of food and donate it. I’ve also been helping coordinate meals for a friend and her kids since the husband/dad has been hospitalized for over a month. And I took part in a food swap recently, don’t know if that counts as helping but it “builds food community”, right? And was fun!

Stef Lau-Chen:

I donated to the local food bank…an online cash donation and am helping with the food drive at work. I supported the effort by energizing other employees…creating an attractive visual display to go with the regular poster and collection bucket, bringing in foods to donate and arranging it in the display and bringing a fruit platter to put out on the table to generate attention. Included in my donation of canned goods, I made sure to buy a plastic jar of Wowbutter, a peanut-free alternative to peanut butter which tastes great and is allergy-friendly for a recipient with nut allergies.

Rebecca Evans:

I collect and publish parents’ personal stories about how ditching additives changed their lives and their children’s health. I also hosted a room at our school’s Science Night, where we educated parents and kids on label-reading and the effects of additives on health. There is a link to the Science Night video on the right side bar of my blog home page, and it’s easy enough for anyone to replicate at their school:

Emily Gustafsson-Wright

I do two things on a volunteer basis. I co-chair The Janney Healthy Food Project (see our fb page) at my daughter’s ES in Wash. DC. Here I designed a program designed to inspire kids to eat more fruits and veggies called “What’s In Season?” which includes a contest, rotating photo exhibit, chef demos/tastings, recipes, still lifes of in-season fruits and veggies in art class and link to the school garden which is all linked to curriculum. I also am part of a group called The DC School Food Project which advocates for better school food and more…

Livin’ The Crunchy Life:

While in the military, I volunteered at least twice a month to deliver meals to the elderly for the local Meals on Wheels. Very rewarding and had a lot of great conversations. Last Veteran’s Day, my mom and I went out for our free vet’s meal, but we didn’t eat it. We drove around town to find someone in need. A few hot meals (with plastic forks we bought) went a homeless couple and a sandwich to a homeless Vietnam vet. We were on quite a feel-good high after that. But, besides starting a real food revolution among my sisters and their families, I feel like I’ve been slacking. So, thank you for the renewed inspiration!

Pamela Kim Adams

Love this idea! I volunteer 3 times a week at a local, nonprofit bakery that is part of St. Joe’s House of Hospitality in Rochester, NY…and part of the larger Catholic Worker Movement. We are completely volunteer-run and we bake much of our bread for St. Joe’s…with the desire to feed the poor with less processed food and more wholesome, natral, organic foods. The kind of food we would feed our families. We also sell our bread through local markets, neighborhood subscribers, and church subscriptions…the money goes toward buying ingredients, paying the bills and paying a stipend to our trainees. I love the bread we bake, but I think what sets our bakery apart is the good energy and love with which our work is done.

Occupy Food

Started and donated my time for almost one year now to Occupy Food. OF started the day before Thanksgiving after discovering massive anomalies in our food system including the turkey. Did not want to serve and eat a Genetically Modified, pesticide laden, chemical Thanksgiving. The need for organic food became all there was. Therefore for one year so far have donated my life, my money, and my career to awaken others in the human family to “WHAT IS IN OUR FOOD?”.


What a lovely way to celebrate Food Day! I’ll make a donation tonight to our food bank. I will miss serving Thanksgiving dinner this year at Houston’s annual meal for those less fortunate, but I’ll use this project as a way to make up for it between now and then.

And here’s my contribution to the list:

In the last month I volunteered, as I try to regularly, at the kitchen of a local homeless shelter; I made a donation to Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger;  I brought canned food to a food drive; I continued to work toward improving school food in my district by attending SHAC and Food Services PAC meetings; and I hope I increased awareness of various food policy issues through my writing on The Lunch Tray and The Huffington Post.

What I love about this round-up is that it illustrates the countless ways to work toward improving our food environment and to get food to those who need it.  Clearly each and every one of us can help bring about these goals in our own special way.

Thank you, Bri, for this lovely idea — a perfect way to start off Thanksgiving week!  And thanks to all the TLT’ers who took the time to share their stories.

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