Besides the first snowstorm of the season, the other big thing on everyone's mind this week is food.
We're just a day away from Thanksgiving, possibly the most calorically indulgent occasion of the year.
In our thoughts, we have visions of large gatherings of family and friends and tables piled high with food, of eating too much and moving too little, of all the meals we'll make with the leftovers and how sick we'll get of seeing that turkey carcass in the fridge.
But what about those who aren't so lucky? Instead of figuring out 16 different ways to use leftover turkey, many in our community are wondering about something much more basic: how to feed their families.
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We know it's much easier to turn a blind eye and focus on ourselves and the fun and food ahead. But overlooking the needs of others is wrong and not in the spirit of the season.
So when you're stocking up on last-minute supplies, grab a few extra things for somebody else. Food drives and fundraisers abound these time of year, so it will be easy enough to find a drop off point for your donation. Or take it to the food bank.
The greatest need, according to 2nd Harvest, is protein. Peanut butter, canned tuna, hearty soups and chili and dried beans all help fill this important nutritional requirement. Fruits and vegetables come next, followed by grains and cereals. People need food they can store and meals they can stretch during the cold winter months.
Locally grown foods also are an important part of the equation, supplementing what can be a largely processed food diet with vegetables and fruit during harvest season. While gleaning season has just about come to a close thanks to our winter weather, it's a great way to give back without costing any more than some of your time.
Take a look at the Fields of Grace website (www.fields-of-grace.com) if you need a little inspiration. You'll see the enormous generosity of our local farmers, and the kind spirit of the folks who help gather the food for those in need.
Other service groups and organizations have done similar work. One local farm was honored by Northwest Harvest this year for donating more than 1 million pounds of onions. A million pounds. Surely, you can find a way to donate a couple of boxes of macaroni or a jar of peanut butter this holiday season.
Someone will be very thankful. And it will fill you with joy and a sense of service instead of just turkey and stuffing.