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spread_the_holiday_cheer.jpgChristmas is my favorite time of the whole year. I love the holidays because it is a time to gather with friends and family and an opportunity to let them know how much they mean to you. I also treasure enjoying old traditions while creating new ones as well. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to let old friends know they still mean a lot to you by sending notes of love in Christmas cards.

You can feel the holiday spirit in the crisp winter air and see it too in the twinkling lights and garlands that line the streets and houses in towns across the nation. To cap it off, people throughout the world spend a day in the kitchen cooking large meals from secret family recipes to fill the bellies of their loved ones. It truly is a time full of cheer.

Although this may be the wonderful Christmas experience you or I have, there are plenty of people within our own communities who struggle to get a meal on the table or who don’t have a single person with whom to share the holiday. According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, food insecurity1 exists in every county in America. They’ve also shared the following statistics:

  • In 2014, 48.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children. Tweet this.
  • In 2014, 14 percent of households (17.4 million households) were food insecure. Tweet this.
  • In 2014, 6 percent of households (6.9 million households) experienced very low food security. Tweet this.
  • In 2014, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 19 percent compared to 12 percent. Tweet this.
  • In 2013, 5.4 million seniors (over age 60), or 9 percent of all seniors were food insecure. Tweet this.

make_someones_season_bright.jpgMeals on Wheels also points out that one-quarter of our nation’s seniors live in isolation and that millions of them are also struggling with hunger and the ability to pay for basic living needs. When I was in college, I did volunteer work for Meals on Wheels. It was amazing how a simple call to check in on our seniors made their day, and when we delivered a fresh loaf of bread just before the holidays, it made their whole season bright.

I encourage you all to enjoy the holidays as you always do, but this year why not break off a little bit of that love and cheer and share it with those who have none by donating to local food banks, visiting the local senior center, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or offering your assistance at your local Meals on Wheels? A little bit can go a long way. How can you help us combat hunger this holiday? We’d love to hear your personal stories of donation in the comments section below!

Tweet this post as a reminder: Don’t forget the hungry this holiday season.

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Read related posts on The Bread Business Blog:

Waste Not, Want Not: Thinking About Food Waste
Locally-Owned Businesses (and Communities) Benefit from Benevolence
Helping Bread Customers Give Generously to Others

Notes:
1: Food insecurity refers to having unreliable access to a sufficient amount of affordable, nutritious food (Source: Oxford Dictionary).

Image credits: Copyright: gpointstudio / 123RF Stock Photo; Copyright: arinahabich / 123RF Stock Photo; both modified by text overlay.

Hi, I am Melissa! I’m a Registered, Licensed Dietitian and I have been the Nutrition Specialist for Great Harvest since December of 2010. I got my start in nutrition at Colorado State University where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science with a focus in Dietetics. I went on to graduate from the Dietetic Internship Program at the Baptist Health System in San Antonio and then work as a Medical Nutrition Specialist in Houston. My love of the outdoors and the opportunity to work at one of Outside Magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Work brought me to Montana and Great Harvest. My favorite part of my job is being able to work with an amazing group of fun and intellectual individuals who are passionate about making healthy eating a delicious experience while giving back to communities across the country.