November kicks off the season of giving. And as you do so, I’m going to ask you to consider your non-perishable food donations.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking alot about ways to give and I was reminded that so many of our opportunities to give involve food. It might be taking dinner to a family who’s going though a tough time, putting together bags of groceries for someone who was just laid off, serving Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless or donating non-perishable food items to various non-profit organizations.
And then this reminded me of a conversation I had a few years back with Sally Goin, director of Faithworks of the Innercity. She explained to me that many people, while their hearts were in the right place, didn’t give effectively because they didn’t truly understand the needs of the people to whom they were giving.
So today I’m going to discuss three ways to consider your non-perishable food donations before giving items to an inner-city mission or organization:
Consider that many of the people they serve are either very, very poor or homeless.
Many, if not most, may not have a stove top, oven or refrigerator. With this in mind, give only items that can be opened and eaten straight from the can or package OR things that can be heated easily on a single hot plate.
Don’t give items that need to be frozen or refrigerated.
Likewise, consider that people living at severe poverty level may not keep things like eggs, milk or even cooking oil on hand. So donating baking mixes or boxed meals that require adding these ingredients wouldn’t be the best choice.
Instead, you could choose to give complete mixes that only require adding water or as mentioned before, donate items that can be eaten right out of the package.
Consider that donations do not need to be what we classify as “healthy”
Yes, nutrition is important, but put yourself in the recipient’s shoes. If you’re used to eating cheap, processed foods because that’s how you stretch what little money you have, then you’ve probably developed a palate for those kinds of foods.
Sally recounted to me a time when she brought an inner-city boy to live with her. She thought she’d cook him some nutritious, down home dinners. He wouldn’t eat them. He wanted macaroni & cheese. That’s what he was used to.
Sugared cereals are an excellent donation choice. Nutritious? Not so much. Useful? Very. They can be eaten and enjoyed even if milk isn’t on hand.
Consider if you wouldn’t eat it, then don’t donate it
How many times have I reached in my cupboard and pulled out the can without the label or the item that no one in the family seemed to want to touch?
More than I care to admit. Many years back this was the norm for me. But the more I grow in Christ and realize His true heart for others, I won’t even consider it.
If you wouldn’t eat it, then why would you donate it?
Jesus always gives the best and if our goal is to truly bless someone, we will too.