10 Food Charities for End-of-Year Giving

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By Mother Nature Network | December 20, 2011 10:12 AM EST

Mother Nature Network

When Gourmet Live asked if I’d share a list of 10 food-related charities that give the gift of food to the world’s neediest, I took a look at the list compiled by Patricia Reilly and decided it was worth sharing.

Donations to these charities are tax-deductible, and with the year coming to an end, it’s the perfect time to make charitable contributions. Gifts to these charities in honor of someone else make a thoughtful gift for both the person you’re honoring and the charity.

  1. Action Against Hunger/ACF International: This humanitarian group, founded in 1979, not only responds to global hunger emergencies but works with local populations on implementing longer-term systems to ensure sustainable sources of food and income. Its more than 4,600 professionals are active in 40 countries worldwide, and specific results in the Horn of Africa and beyond are prominently displayed on the homepage and in the Impact section.
  2. Center for Science in the Public Interest: Established in 1971 and best known in the past decade for pressuring government to safeguard the United States food supply from pathogens, exposing and eliminating trans fats in major food brands, and fighting junk food in schools, this watchdog may bark stridently at times yet is a results-getting ally of the public interest where food, alcohol, health and the environment are concerned.
  3. City Harvest: Since 1982, City Harvest has made a mission out of sheer common sense, rounding up and recycling excess food throughout New York City. It delivers 83,000 pounds of food daily to more than 600 community food programs, helping feed more than 300,000 people each week—all for pennies (27 of them) per pound.
  4. Coalition of Immokalee Workers: A group like the CIW is a good reminder that there can be hardship at both ends of the food-supply chain—in getting enough food to eat and in growing it. Readers of Barry Estabrook — author of "Tomatoland" and contributor to Gourmet Live — will already be well-acquainted with this community-based farm workers’ organization and its outsize accomplishments. From its home in southern Florida — source of winter tomatoes and other crops for much of the nation — the CIW has won landmark agreements with industry and major fast-food chains to significantly improve worker wages and conditions. The coming year’s challenge: widely implementing the CIW’s Fair Food Code of Conduct in the fields. What the group’s site doesn’t yet make obvious is that it is a registered 501(c)(3) charity and that donations are tax-deductible; give it time — right now, it’s busy putting an admirable 83 percent of its funds into programs and only 3 percent into fund-raising.
  5. DC Central Kitchen: This Washington-based nonprofit reclaims and recycles 3,000 pounds of food each day, making 4,500 meals and distributing them to 100 shelters, transitional homes, and rehab clinics throughout the DC area. It also runs a culinary job training program for people referred by the agencies it serves. Graduates of this program are placed in DCCK’s own full-service catering company or elsewhere in the food service industry; in this respect, it brings to mind Los Angeles’ Homeboy Industries and Streets International, both covered in September by Gourmet Live. The DC group is now spinning off a Campus Kitchens version of its model in tandem with high schools and colleges across the country.
  6. Feeding America: An organization that Gourmet Live’s sibling site Epicurious.com partners with, Feeding America comprises a nationwide network of more than 200 member food banks. Together, they provide food assistance to more than 37 million people across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. If you prefer to find and fund an affiliate in your area, use Feeding America’s Food Bank Locator.
  7. The Hunger Project: Founded in 1977, the Hunger Project advocates bottom-up, community-based solutions for food shortages and self-sufficiency in the developing world, specifically focusing on Africa, Bangladesh, India and Latin America. It has aligned itself with the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and cites examples of its related efforts online.
  8. Oxfam America: This group, one of 15 affiliates worldwide, is devoted to creating “lasting solutions to poverty, hunger, and social injustice.” It spans disaster relief, development and policy advocacy and is active in more than 90 countries. In drought- and famine-stricken East Africa, Oxfam expects emergency conditions to continue well into 2012; its aim is to aid 3 million people and collaborate on lasting local systems to support agriculture and boost earnings. A global food-justice initiative, the GROW campaign, is dedicated to building a “better food system: one that sustainably feeds a growing population (estimated to reach nine billion by 2050) and empowers poor people to earn a living, feed their families, and thrive.”
  9. Save the Children: True to its name, Save the Children defines its mission as “creating lasting change for children in need in the United States and around the world.” Established in the U.S. in 1932, the group runs programs designed to improve children’s lives by alleviating poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease; it also provides disaster relief, responding recently to the floods in northern and eastern India and the east African famine. Quarterly results are posted on Save the Children’s site.
  10. United States Fund for UNICEF: The U.S. Fund supports UNICEF’s humanitarian support of children — those most vulnerable to food deprivation — in more than 150 countries worldwide. According to a 2010 UNICEF report, child mortality rates worldwide are declining, yet more than 22,000 children under the age of 5 die each day, and 70 percent of them die before the age of 1; “undernutrition,” among other causes UNICEF aims to prevent, is linked to about one third of child deaths.

To understand how and why each of these charities were chosen, and for more good reasons to give, check out the original post on Gourmet Live.

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The article was first published by Mother Nature Network

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