Many families who rely on food stamps end up with bare cupboards towards the end of the month. If you've got more than enough, why not connect with a family who has less? By donating one week's worth of groceries once a month, you'll help eradicate hunger in the U.S., one family at a time.
Step 1: Learn about Family-to-Family Go to Family-to-Family.org to learn about this nonprofit, national hunger relief program that makes it easy for people to help feed struggling rural and inner-city American families. New York mom (and AARP member) Pam Koner launched Family-to-Family in 2002 after reading about desperate poverty in Pembroke, Illinois. Pam and 16 friends each sponsored a family in Pembroke simply by sending a food box once a month.
Step 2: Become a cyber-sponsor Consider cyber-sponsoring a needy family. Choose a community you'd like to help, and Family-to-Family will assign a family to you. All it takes is a minimum monthly credit or debit card donation of $25, which will be used to buy groceries for the family you're sponsoring.
Step 3: Start your own chapter Want to be more hands-on? Start your own Family-to-Family Chapter. FTF provides all the tools and support you need. To start, find four to nine families to join you in sponsoring a matching number of needy families. Download a sample recruitment letter and Help Feed a Family in Need toolkit at CreateTheGood.org/HowTo.
Step 4: Connect Once you have your chapter members, contact FTF for a list of families to sponsor. Try to match donors with families who have children of the same gender but a bit younger; that way, the sponsoring family can also pass on gently used clothing.
Step 5: Decide on sponsorship type Decide on your chapter's type of sponsorship: Food Box, where you ship groceries to your family every month, or the Cyber-Local Grocery option, where you provide the funds for the recipient family to do their own food shopping. The latter saves you shipping costs and also allows the family flexibility to choose what they like, including perishables.
TIP: Many groups ship food for several months and then switch to the cyber option once they've gotten to know their family.
Step 6: Go shopping! If you've chosen Food Box, each member family packs a carton of groceries for their recipient family every month. Involve children and grandchildren so they learn the value of empathy and the importance of giving to those who are less fortunate. Ship the boxes to your community contact; they'll deliver them to your families. For guidance on what to send, go to CreateTheGood.org/HowTo.
TIP: Develop a more personal connection by including a letter or photo in each box. Encourage children to send their gently used toys and books.
Step 7: Send non-food items Once a month, ask group members to purchase a non-food necessity for their family, like a personal care product. Send them to your community contact for distribution.
Step 8: Encourage others Encourage others to start their own groups, so the chain of giving grows. And sleep easier, knowing that one less family is going to bed hungry, thanks to you.
FACT: Approximately 35 million low-income people face hunger in the United States every day, including more than 12 million children and more than 3 million seniors.