December 13, 2016
Most of us agree on what the holidays are truly about: spending time with family and friends, showing appreciation for people we love, and giving to those in need.
However, unless we’ve made an intentional decision to prioritize these things, they easily get lost in the shuffle of shopping, parties, and end-of-the-year errands. Now that we’re in the thick of it, it’s a good time to hit pause and reflect on where you’ve been channeling your energy over these past few weeks.
One way to get a headstart on practicing gratitude? Combine two of our favorite things: delicious, healthy food and doing good in the community. When you think about it, a nourishing meal is just about the best gift you can give any time of year. Here are some of our favorite ways to warm hearts—and bellies!—this season:
Most shelters and soup kitchens are flooded with volunteers during the holidays, so unless you’ve made plans in advance, it may be too late to work the food line this year. But there’s no better time to sign up for less popular volunteer days in the coming year, when help is harder to find. In the meantime, soup kitchens and food banks always welcome non-perishable food donations. Thrive Market has a wonderful selection, so fill your cart with a few extras to help these organizations serve the less fortunate well beyond December.
Meals on Wheels is the oldest and largest organization in America supporting senior nutrition. Its dedicated network of two million volunteers delivers meals and spends quality time with seniors across the country. Before you shop, review the Meals on Wheels donation drive for a list of the most-needed items.
Food banks can use a helping hand year-round, and it’s easy to find a branch near you within Feeding America’s vast network—just type in your zipcode. You can give them a call or check online to see which items are most in-demand at different times throughout the year, too.
There’s nothing better than receiving a care package—especially when you’re far from home. Boxing up homemade baked goods (get recipe ideas here) or packaged snacks (hint: we have tons of healthy options) and sending it off to service men and women is a great way to show your appreciation. See tips for sending baked goods overseas here, and contact your local VA hospital for specific guidelines on providing homemade treats to veterans.
Adopting a family through an established program like the Salvation Army assists families who wouldn’t have the resources to celebrate the holidays by providing food, clothing, and gifts. You can also check with local churches and hospitals.
Ordering groceries from Thrive? We make it easy to donate to families in need through our Thrive Gives program—you can specify any amount to donate at checkout. The funds go directly into the accounts of Gives members, to help them afford food and other items for their families. And don’t forget that for every membership purchased, Thrive Market donates a membership to someone who would have difficulty affording one—so your membership has already provided a year of access to discounted, healthy food to someone who needs it. George, one of our Gives members, says, “The program has helped me and my wife afford healthy alternatives that were beyond the reach of our fixed income.”
Want to do more? Help us celebrate everyday acts of kindness this season! Did you volunteer for an organization you care about? Feed a stranger’s parking meter? Tell us about it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, and include the hashtag #ThriveMarket and the URL ThriveMarketCares.org—and we’ll donate $5 on your behalf. Get all the details here.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont
Melinda writes about health, wellness, and food for the Thrive Market blog. She started her career as a financial journalist in NYC and has written for Where Magazine, Worth, Forbes, and TheStreet.com. When she's not reading or writing, she enjoys working out, sketching, and playing with her daughter and mini-dachshund, Goliath.
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