Random Acts | Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is the time of year when we all give thanks for our families, our friends, our blessings. When we look at our lives and the world around us and appreciate what we have, what we've worked for, been given. We hope for peace, for things to quiet down - for everyone to be grateful. It's also the time of year when we all feel a little helpless, a little ashamed at the incredible imbalances in the world and we feel desperate to help, to at least make the holidays a little more joyous for all of us. And for most of us, that inclination to be a part of a solution falls squarely on the shoulders of the hunger issue.

But while generosity around the holidays is a natural impulse, it can often be misplaced. There are better ways to help than trying to lend a hand at an already over-crowded soup kitchen or homeless shelter. The truth, of course, is that hunger is not just a holiday issue. The real need for volunteers and support are the weeks leading up to or following the holidays when food banks are working hard to create an infrastructure to support their organization's efforts. And even more important are the summer months when many kids lose access to school meals and organizations such as Share Our Strength or Feeding America step in to assist. 

And of course, there's also a donation, which will always go the farthest in making meaningful strides for any charity. Most of us don't have the luxury of time to really invest in the days or weeks it would take to make a real difference as a volunteer, but we probably do have a few extra dollars to send to the charities of our choice, and that will always be the best use of your resources.

For us at The Select 7, the issue of hunger is something we are passionate about trying to solve.  Here, our list of our favorite hunger-related charities. We hope you'll use the spirit of the season to give as you can.

Nearly 20% of New Yorkers are currently living under the poverty line, and it's City Harvest's mission to help feed these nearly 1.5 million people who are facing hunger each year. By rescuing more than 150,000 pounds of food  EVERY DAY from restaurants, hotels, grocers. farmers markets and more  that would otherwise go to waste, City Harvest is able to provide food and meals to over 500 community programs as well. They also run great programs to teach people living under the poverty line how to make healthy meals, and they run  incredible mobile markets in these underserved areas so that community members can "shop" for fresh fruits and vegetables. It's truly an incredible organization making a real dent in the hunger issue in New York.

Feeding America is this country's largest domestic hunger relief organization, with a nationwide network of food banks that they serve. Feeding America provides more than 3.6 billion meals to virtually every community in America.

This is a global project dedicated to the sustainable end of world hunger for every man, woman and child. For us what sets The Hunger Project apart is that these strategies are centered around women.

Representing community-based senior nutrition programs across the country, the Meals On Wheels Association of America serves approximately 1 million meals a day to the nation’s seniors through two methods of food distribution: direct delivery to homebound seniors and adults with disabilities, and congregate meals served in group settings such as a community center or long-term care facility.

Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign is working to end childhood hunger in America. Wait, what? Childhood hunger? In America. Yep. It's hard to believe, but it's true and luckily brother and sister Bill and Debbie Shore believe that everyone "has a strength to share on the global fight against hunger and poverty." A future without childhood hunger is a future where kids have access to healthy food all of the time. It gives them good breakfasts at school and food all year long, even in the summer. This is an organization very near to our hearts and one that make huge impact in the lives of all of our children every day.