4 Ways To Be Ready For SB 1383Food Waste

4 Ways To Be Ready For SB 1383

It’s almost here, the anticipated January 2022 kick off of the “all hands on deck” aspect of the organic recycling mandate, SB 1383. California will begin enforcing the donation, recycling and otherwise diversion from landfills of organic (much of which is food) waste.

As a food recovery nonprofit we’ll be focusing on the food aspect rather than the sticks and leaves part, and there’s much you can do, as a resident and as a business, to ensure your bins are divested of the usual food scraps and leftovers.

Let’s start with the most obvious, which is, use those edible parts up! The farm to table movement has taught us not just to eat locally, but hopefully

to clean your plate, and we mean that in the less literal sense, whether you’re making soup from bones or peels, squirreling away seeds to plant in a garden, or simply finding recipes that inspire using every last bit of an ingredient.

Next, and easy but not always done properly, is food storage. How often do you have every intention of cooking something but life shifts, and you find a sad head of cauliflower at the back of the fridge two weeks later or those leftover chicken wings protesting in silence, ignored and forgotten? It happens. But if you choose the right storage container, you can at least give those items a fighting chance to last another day or two longer than they would normally.

The largest amount of food waste happens at the consumer level, this we know. But, the newer options for home composting are coming fast and furious, and it’s possible that the compost bin will become as common on countertops as the toaster oven or coffeemaker. Yes, you have to find a place to put the table scraps after they sit in your kitchen composter, but the plan is for waste haulers to offer organic bins to help you dispose of it easily. For now, it’s no harder to toss strawberry tops and eggshells into a shiny thingy on your counter than on your floor. And if you do take it full circle, the outdoor compost receptacles are easily had and pretty simple to use.

Finally, and this especially goes for businesses, you can always donate what you can’t use! We’re talking safely edible items, of course. Did you buy too many bags of burger buns, have some canned goods about to expire that you can’t use, prep a pan of rice that went unserved? It can be donated to a nonprofit that feeds people rather than tossed. Food Finders serves more than 400 pantries, shelters, missions, and centers that can use the food that others can’t, and with 1 in 6 people experiencing hunger regularly, donations are highly encouraged.

Need more info? Be sure to contact us directly, 562-283-1400.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Giving

A Trifecta of Giving With Food Finders

A donor of ours recently shared that he loves supporting Food Finders, which he started doing through his company giving campaign, then began volunteering as a food rescuer where he sees the program benefits firsthand. “It’s like I’m helping 3 organizations at once–Food Finders, the recipient, and the food donor.” It’s a wonderful testament on how to have a huge impact with a single focus.

We call it the Trifecta of Giving.

Food Finders’ mission is two-fold, which is to help reduce hunger and help the environment by rescuing food and reducing food waste. We tend to emphasize the former more than the latter in our messages and outcomes, but let’s look at some real and impactful numbers overall.

Food Finders provides an average of 30,000 meals worth of food…DAILY! Hard to imagine, but given that millions of pounds of fresh produce, dairy products, meats, prepared foods, baked goods, and nonperishables are donated annually, it adds up quickly, and the more donors realize we’re a resource, the more it adds up. Your donation, be it money or food or volunteer time, helps us run a well-oiled nonprofit and ensure we connect all the dots—or food–efficiently. So, you’re already a part of a bigger picture just by helping Food Finders.

Which leads us to the second arm of the trifecta — our partner agencies. Right now, we serve more than 550 nonprofit partners that are spread across four Southern California counties. That’s a huge reach. This includes large missions that feed hundreds of people daily down to small recovery homes that feed roughly a dozen people. When volunteers come and pack a few dozen food boxes or rescue a hundred pounds of fresh food, dozens of people in need can eat as a result, all in exchange for an hour or two of time. It also means those agencies providing the food directly can save some of their hard-earned funding to use on other services or spread their dollar farther. How rewarding is that?

When it comes to helping our more than 700 food donors, we’re more in demand now than ever. Many businesses are having to reduce their organic waste by 75%, per new state mandates. Restaurants, grocers, food distribution centers, and even a corporate kitchens, schools and hospitals must ensure that excess food is diverted, meaning composted, converted to animal feed, or our favorite, donated to feed people, because starting January, fines will be enforced. Many businesses are already a step-ahead and have been donating food overages for years. Saving money for our food donors so they can do the right thing is a no-brainer, and the third arm of our trifecta.

Sounds like a win-win-win so far!

But, wait, there’s more. Our environment appreciates your support as well. Imagine what it means when 16 million pounds of wholesome food is diverted from landfills? Thankfully, someone already calculated for us. It means 8.6 million pounds of Co2e are eliminated. It also equates to 7,296,000,000 (that’s not a typo) gallons of water saved. Food takes a lot of water to grow, plus labor and transportation to get it to market. You’re essentially helping our planet when you support Food Finders.

One final bonus—supporting our organization, you are helping YOU. Sharing a kindness keeps us well mentally and all around.

So, on behalf of everyone we serve, thank you for choosing to support Food Finders. Be well.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Individual Spotlight

On Being Grateful

My son has been learning Latin on Babbel, a language app, and sometimes we discuss the roots of various words, since he also took French, and I took Spanish decades earlier. It’s fun to compare similarities in the languages. Since we are approaching the time of year when the word ‘Grateful’ is foremost on our minds, not to mention in stores teeming with Thanksgiving holiday décor, I became curious of its origin.

Grateful, it turns out, is rooted in the Latin word ‘gratus’ which originally meant pleasing or agreeable. What’s more, the word was at its highest usage back in 1800. From there its usage went steadily downhill. Around 1920 it started a resurgence, and in the past twenty years or so, ‘grateful’ has been on a steady upswing and is nearly back to the same high level of usage as in 1800. Humanity is #bringinggratefulback.

Despite the past couple of harrowing years that have included a pandemic, political upheaval, and rising mental health concerns, we’re frequently reminded to be grateful either via a myriad of articles, TEDTalks, and personal growth podcasts, or like when you notice gas prices rising but realize your commute was cut in half now that you work from home part of the week. Being reminded is good, because by noting what we’re grateful for we generate good vibes, a shift in our outlook, and potentially even more things to be grateful for. Kristi Nelson, we hear you.

At Food Finders we also hear words of thanks and gratefulness, and it’s rewarding to know people appreciate what we do as an organization. But what we love hearing even more is why they are grateful. The obvious answer is because they didn’t go hungry. Pressing further, we learn it’s much more. It might be because they are a student who could better focus on their studies that will ultimately help them attain a decent salary. Maybe they’re a single mother who could rest easy knowing her rent will be paid now that her food bill is less of an issue. It’s also the senior on a limited income who could live more comfortably because he didn’t have to choose between buying medication or food. There are countless benefits in the form of why they are grateful.

Our new campaign and mantra “more than just food” spotlights these benefits. We want to remind not just ourselves, but all of you who support us, we’re more to our recipients than a meal or a full pantry shelf. As a food rescue organization, we’re helping provide a sense of security, an opportunity for togetherness, and lasting well-being. Particularly during the holidays when food is a focal point of every event and celebration, we recognize that providing something as simple as a frozen turkey can make the difference between a jumble of stress and a joyful memory.

Writer Naomi Williams made a wonderful observation when she said, “It’s impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” By providing food, we’re providing something that can make all the difference in people’s lives, one moment at a time. Maybe even longer.

You can help us continue providing more than just food by donating today.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Community

Not Just Happy Holidays, Happy Memories

We’re approaching the time of year so many people see as the break in a long string of busy months and repeated tasks that constitute everyday life. The holidays—no matter your practice, beliefs, or customs, are a time to celebrate and convene with family and friends, if only for a day or two.

At places like Food Finders, it’s the busiest time of year, with food distributions often doubling and partners asking for specialty items or hoping for extra food like turkeys and other traditional fare to give to individuals and families who, like everyone else, look forward to a special meal they can share with those they love.

Beyond food, we know we’re providing things like hope, security, stability, and even joy. What do you think of when you think of holidays? Do you have a favorite food you look forward to eating in front of the fireplace? You might host a potluck at work or bake for friends? Maybe you visit family that you live away from or take a special trip that holds meaning for just that time of year.

It’s not just about food, but about memories.

Like, remember the time you made your first turkey and how great it turned out? How your grandpa told the best jokes whenever he drank a little eggnog? Or what about the time you had tacos instead of a traditional meal and it was the best holiday dinner you’d ever had because of who you shared it with?

We know that food is the gateway to so many holiday highlights, albeit a huge part, and can mean the difference between a wonderful experience and a woeful one. Which is why we make the extra effort to plan, produce and provide so much during this time of year. Being a resource that can make the difference between a forgettable and a memorable holiday is extra meaningful, and hearing stories of gratitude make it that much more rewarding.

We hope you’ll play a part in this year’s holiday season that involves giving back, whether it’s food or something equally important. To learn more about what Food Finders is doing, see our events page.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Food Finders News

Awareness + Action = Impact

September is Hunger Awareness Month, and as the month kicked off, we found ourselves still addressing high levels of food insecurity due to Covid. People are seriously struggling in many communities to put food on the table–1 in 6 people are going hungry every day just in California alone.

You may not know any of those people, but our drivers and volunteers see them every day. And our staff receives calls from individuals asking, “Do you give out food, or Where can I go that does?”

Here are two stories from our nonprofit partners who saw firsthand the impact of COVID:

“We never stopped through Covid, and because of your wonderful organization, we were able to feed all displaced shelter guests. We gloved up, masked up and gowned up to deliver 137,000 meals in 11 months to the sick, the elderly, and families living out of motels. That was 6 days a week, 3 meals a day and a snack and water–literally we stepped in and helped these souls survive. It was Food Finders !! It was you and our hands and feet!” – Lighthouse Outreach in Costa Mesa.

“We were able to serve hundreds of youths and their families throughout summer and beyond. The Food Finders donations ensured we could provide fresh produce boxes to families, some we’ve never seen before, along with other nonperishable items as well. Thank you so much!” – YMCA in Greater Long Beach

We are hopeful amid health and economic uncertainties that, before end of year, our communities and residents will see a return to pre-pandemic levels of hunger or better, which is not to say hunger will go away. Food Finders is still a much needed, crucial resource to hundreds of nonprofits daily.

The GREAT news is that you can do something impactful. Even if you help just one person, knowing they made it through another day without going hungry is a good place to start. We encourage everyone to read and share about our latest list of 4 Ways To Donate Without Spending Extra, and to also consider getting friends or coworkers involved in raising funds, particularly on Thursday for Long Beach Gives or in November for Giving Tuesday. Everything helps!

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Community

Flux Sucks – Goodwill Is A Good Antidote

The heat is on, the season is in full swing, and families, employers, and businesses are still in various stages of flux. If you’d bet the pandemic would last past a year, you’d be cashing in right now.

Some people are making the most of the situation and taking advantage of productive, remote working situations, building more downtime into their schedules to spend with family and friends, visits to the beach and even time to cook more meals.

But a few blocks from your house or even just a few doors away, there are people struggling to stay positive. Summer is especially stressful. For parents, it brings the question of who will provide childcare if it’s even available, or how do I ensure my children are engaged if they’re not in a camp, summer school or community program? At the most basic level—”How do I keep my family from going hungry?” is being asked by one in five families, particularly while there’s no access to school meal programs.

The Health Care Agency of Orange County, published a study late last year that showed an 83% increase in the number of children facing food insecurity compared to 2018. USC Dornsife’s Public Exchange released a report around the same time last year about hunger in L.A., reinforcing how children experiencing hunger “are at a higher risk for cognitive problems, anxiety and depression.” Recently congress submitted an update to legislation called the Stop Child Hunger Act, with the intention of making summer food support permanent rather than a year-by-year consideration.

There IS something you can do, and not only will it improve your own mental health but will make an immediate impact and provide some stability to others. Your donation to Food Finders’ Summer To End Hunger drive ensures struggling kids and their families can eat, alleviating the stress of affording food so they can focus on other expenses and needs. Whether you’re collecting canned goods or cash, you’re supporting hundreds of nonprofits that in turn are serving thousands of families.

There’s an entire month of our drive remaining to continue addressing this immediate need – don’t go it alone. Enlist your tribe, your team, your ten or so friends or family members and make an even bigger impact!

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Food Finders News

You’ve Got $1600 Right In Your Fridge!

About twenty or so years ago, when Food Network was first gaining traction, they featured a show called Door Knock Dinners, where the chef/host would “surprise” a family at random and demonstrate how to combine, for example, a head of cauliflower, two chicken breasts, basil that’s about to go bad and a cup of leftover beans in their fridge or pantry into a delicious meal. It was great inspiration for getting creative with ingredients on hand. It also, if indirectly, encouraged reducing food waste, which according to statistics is most prevalent at the consumer level.

Food Waste, even with smart fridges and grocery shopping apps at our disposal (pun intended), still remains an issue to the point that the USDA estimates each household throws out an average of $1600 worth of food per year. That’s at least another couple month’s-worth of groceries! Most people would like to think they are intentional shoppers, but even fastidious households or family cooks wind up with wilted lettuce or forgotten mashed potatoes at the back of their fridge at some point. In some cases, a good food storage set-up can make a world, and wallet-full, of difference, but there’s yet another challenge we face when it comes to reducing food waste.

Food labels and dates continue to be a bit of a consumer conundrum. We mostly use smell and taste tests at home, and when you see mold on your yogurt, probably best to toss it. But what do the best by, sell by, use by dates all mean? There’s no actual USDA federal regulation on any of it, but some states have their own standards in place. California passed a law that helps align with major food trade organizations in reducing confusion and offering consistent label definitions. One helpful resource is EatByDate, which provides guidelines of how long common perishable foods should last, and an alternate comprehensive list includes shelf-stable items.

So, while we’ve basically mastered how long our eggs, milk, and lunch are good for, there are always new products hitting the market that present a bit of a learning curve on shelf life, like meat-replacement patties, non-dairy milks, pressed juices, and others. A general rule of thumb for many of these is 3-5 days after opening, but that can vary.

The overall key in reducing food waste is careful planning, and in the best of circumstances, having a compost system in place to capture scraps so they get a second life.

As a food vendor, manufacturer, distributor, or producer, it’s important to know that donating food—whether edible but past it’s sell by or best by date, slightly damaged but still good, or purely an overproduction–is always an option. By January 2022, California businesses will need to address their food overages in order to comply with SB1383, which we’ll cover in another blog, so donating should be on everyone’s radar.

Meanwhile, Food Finders encourages you to share about our Food Rescue Program with friends, associates and business partners, so we can ensure that beyond the consumer level, everyone is doing their part to reduce food waste.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Hunger

LGBTQ And Hunger: What You Should Know

In honor of Pride Month, Food Finders is shining a spotlight on some of the lesser-known facts about hunger and how it affects the LGBTQ community.

While hunger is often tied to homelessness, and a high population of people served by our partner agencies and pantries are homeless or unemployed, an oft-overlooked community that is reliant upon food banks, pantries and social services continues to be LGBTQ adults and teens. As indicated recently by Oregon Food Bank, more than a quarter of this community struggles with food insecurity. The reasons for this are tied directly to similar discriminatory acts faced by people of color.

Discrimination at places of work, within housing and education and even within the healthcare system has affected the levels of poverty that are perpetuated and growing within the transgender community in particular. Additionally, LGBTQ people of color have twice the rate of hunger as general BIPOC. A report issued in 2016 by the Williams Institute showed that The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) served nearly 1.37 million LGBTQ Americans several years ago, and we know that number has increased since. Worse, proposed cuts to the SNAP program further threaten food access for LGBTQ adults, although the country’s current administration is hoping to see increases in the federal funding for SNAP, but the proposals have not been approved.

Support systems are crucial, in the community and within families. In some families there is rampant unacceptance of LGBTQ members, particularly teens, and they are left to fend for themselves. While organizations like National LGBTQ Anti-Poverty Network , the National LGBTQ Task Force and many others advocate for their communities regularly, there is still much progress to be made.

You can help! Food Finders urges everyone to take a few minutes to get involved and lend a voice on behalf of our LGBTQ friends and family. Start here to share your stories and messages of support.

As William Faulkner said, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty, truth, and compassion against injustice…If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.”

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Food Waste

Go Eco-Friendly: 5 Ideas For An Environmentally-Kind Holiday

As Memorial weekend approaches, many of us will perhaps be planning or attending our first major get-together of the year. Whether it’s a barbecue, beach bash, park picnic, or backyard fiesta, why not make it decidedly green by starting with one or all five tips. Waste not…party on!

Choose To Reuse your plates, cups, napkins, cutlery–it’s easy to find inexpensive plastic, glass and metal serving-ware for casual events that you can easily wash off and put away for the next celebration. A simple pie plate subs in for paper or Styrofoam, and the popular red Solo cups now come reusable and are totally affordable. So much better than filling up a trash bag or two and sending it to a landfill to languish for years.

Beverage Stations Are Best for reducing piles of plastic bottles, cans, or cups. A few large vessels filled with your favorites, like refreshing lemonade, soda or an adult beverage, make your gathering festive and earth-friendly. And they save you money, so why not?

Cook What You Need is a Food Finders favorite tip, so whatever doesn’t get opened or grilled—burgers, veggies, hot dogs—can be stored for later. Nobody wants food that’s sat out for a few hours, and sadly, those leftovers can’t be donated either. Use a portion guide to determine how much to prepare, and you won’t have to waste! And, if you do end up with extra frozen patties or unserved items, feel free to drop them off.

Consciously Decorate by getting creative with upcycled or multi-use articles. Find cool ways to repurpose items that you might already have on hand. Strings of lights are easy, along with chalkboards, wood pallets and cloth, like this DIY backyard movie screen—super simple!

BYOC, aka, bring your own containers! Just in case there are a few spare pounds of salad, or goodness forbid, the cookies don’t all get devoured, you can encourage guests to come prepared with their own carryout container. If you’re the lucky leftover recipient and need inspiration, there are plenty of great ways to use barbecue extras.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Food Finders News

Making The Most Impact With Your Charitable Giving

Ask just about any nonprofit what they need funding for most, and it would very likely be General Operating support. It’s sort of the ongoing push and pull with any development team within a nonprofit to find a balance where you can both please your constituents who donate and sustain your business, because a nonprofit is a business that still has the usual expenses as a for-profit—rents, salaries, utilities, IT costs—and those are also the least appealing expenses to many funders.

What is most appealing of course are the programs, usually whatever is tied to a nonprofit’s mission. In the case of Food Finders, it’s our food rescue program, which is our core effort, along with our sub-programs such as feeding kids, hosting food hubs and providing nutrition education. These direct extensions of our goal to eliminate hunger and food waste provide the positive outcomes that we are more than happy to share. It’s the reward that makes us all feel good about working for, volunteering at, and supporting the organization.

But how can a nonprofit sustain its programs if it can’t afford the rent or the program manager’s salary? Like we sometimes say, we can’t pay our electric bill with a case of donated bananas, so it takes a diverse stream of revenue to keep our programs going and growing.

And then there’s the other side of the matter, which is the ever-changing financial climate. Some years, interest levels and income plummet from investments, and nonprofits that prosper from robust contributions based on investment income are left scrambling to rethink their fundraising plans. Foundations that might have generously donated in years past may have to limit their grantmaking or individuals with previously thriving portfolios might rethink their charitable giving.

In 2020, the economic recession that nobody saw coming due to a pandemic left analysts predicting that a third of nonprofits would close. The actual outcome is still being determined, but while many nonprofits that focused on human services saw an increase of emergency support, others suffered setbacks as their programs were made less of a priority, particularly those in the arts or education. Of those that stayed open, a huge percentage were heavily burdened with increased demand.

So, what makes supporting nonprofits a Win-Win, for the donor and organization? Consider these options:

–Join a monthly giving program to spread your dollars across the year and allow them to be spent as needed, like The Share Table. You’ll still receive a charitable deduction come tax time.

–Set up a Donor Advised Fund, a tax benefit that can include cash, stock and other assets as designated.

–Designate funding as Unrestricted, so a nonprofit can spend the dollars prudently where they are most needed and fill in any gaps that program-directed funds don’t cover.

Corporate sponsorships are always welcome, along with employee giving campaigns, which benefit a company’s image and morale while showing the community some local support via the charity of choice.

Bottom line, it’s important is to know your dollars are wisely earned and spent, and transparency is key, which is why one of Food Finders’ core values is Integrity. For a good source on where to cast your philanthropic net, consider Charity Navigator, which provides current ratings and complete financial profiles of hundreds of nonprofits.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

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Support Food Finders and Give #MoreThanJustFood

Your support of Food Finders provides more than just food- it provides time spent cooking together, reconnecting with friends or family, creating a long-lasting memory, tradition and much more. Make a donation this December and provide someone in need with #MoreThanJustFood.