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A Virtual Holiday Food Drive

I wrote about the increasing hunger crisis in the United States back in May, when Breadline USA came out. Difficulty putting food on the table is not a problem faced only by the poorest of the poor: many working people now rely on food stamps, food banks, soup kitchens in order to fill the gap between what they can afford and what they need. Record numbers of Americans were “food insecure” in 2008, the Department of Agriculture reported last month, and things have only become worse since then, as unemployment and underemployment levels have continued to rise. Food stamps are used by more people than at any time in history, and so on and so on.

Given this bleak reality, I am pleased to take part in a Virtual Holiday Food Drive which has been organized by other Oakland bloggers. The money raised goes directly to the Alameda County Community Food Bank, which provides enough food for 300,000 meals a week. All you need to do is click on the image below, then click the “shop” button. You will then be able to either “shop” for food items for the food bank (it gives you a sense of how far food banks are able to stretch monetary donations by buying in bulk), or simply enter a dollar amount.

Holiday Food Drive

Anything you are able to give would be much appreciated (by me, of course, but much more importantly, by the many people who are helped by the ACCFB every day). We have a goal of $2,000 by December 20th, and are already nearing the halfway point less than a week into the drive, thanks to a limited number of very generous donors. If a less limited number of similarly generous donors (even a $5 donation can be very generous, depending on one’s circumstances!) pitch in, then this goal is very doable, and the real goal, of course, is to exceed the goal by as much as possible. More information on this virtual food drive can be found here.

I know that some of my regular readers are far removed from Alameda County, and may have their own plans to volunteer or donate to food banks in their own regions. I would never suggest that you give to the ACCFB instead of helping out closer to your home, but what better way to put into practice the Buddhist virtue of expanding circles of compassion than to supplement local giving with additional help farther afield? Or if anyone was saving up to buy me a cool Festivus gift like a sailboat or an annual subscription to US Weekly, then may I suggest that the money would be better spent providing food to those who need it?

Regardless of how you choose to help the less fortunate among us during this holiday season: thank you!