Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Bilyeu

COMMENTARY

How a holiday with friends can help hungry kids

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Friendsgiving, America’s newest holiday, is all about gathering and giving thanks with loved ones to whom you may or may not be related.

Attributed to Millennials, it has grown in popularity among other generations, too. It can be done instead of or in addition to the traditional Thanksgiving and take place on the big day itself or at any convenient time during the holiday season. Friendsgiving is both festive and flexible.

And this year, you can get together and do a lot of good, too, when you celebrate in conjunction with one of the country’s premier anti-hunger charities.

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No Kid Hungry strives to feed children who lack adequate food and nutrition. It connects students to school-based breakfast programs as well as meals served during vacations, supports classes to teach low-income families to cook affordable and healthy dishes, and coordinates with food banks nationwide. Its mission is to feed kids where they learn, where they play, and where they live.

Register your gathering at friendsgiving.nokidhungry.org and pledge to raise money for the cause. Every dollar contributed to No Kid Hungry can provide as many as 10 meals, and donations are tax-deductible. You’ll have your own personal fund-raising page so that even those who are unable to attend the event can support your effort. Those who don’t have any connection to a registered Friendsgiving meal are welcome to make general donations.

Creative recipes that put a contemporary spin on classic holiday dishes are offered at the site, as well, providing inspiration for your menu. (Spicy Parmesan-Sprinkled Brussels Sprouts and a Salted Caramel Apple Pie are just two of the temptations.) There’s also a timeline to help keep you organized rather than feeling overwhelmed.

As if helping to provide food for hungry children isn’t already sufficient incentive to host a Friendsgiving fund-raiser, hosts are eligible for several other perks, too. The first 200 to raise money will receive a silicone vegetable roasting mat. Those who raise $500 or more will get a special apron sporting the phrase Eat, Drink, and Be Thankful. Raise $1,000 or more and receive a special wooden cheese board. And the top five fund-raisers will be sent a gift basket filled with cooking utensils from Tovolo, a sponsor of the event.

Once you’ve signed up — and, especially, when you want to show off the friends and the food at your event — be sure to promote the effort using #Friendsgiving and #NoKidHungry.

You can do all the cooking and baking yourself for your Friendsgiving feast or have your guests contribute to a bountiful potluck. Cook the turkey while inviting others to fill out the rest of the meal. Or, meet up with your group at a local restaurant, if you’d rather celebrate without facing a sink full of dirty dishes afterward.

It doesn’t matter how you coordinate the logistics as long as you and your guests have a great time together.

The important part is that you’ll be sharing a meal with some of your favorite people and also helping to make sure that no kids in the Toledo area go hungry.

Contact Mary Bilyeu at mbilyeu@theblade.com, and follow her at facebook.com/​thebladefoodpage, bladefoodpage on Instagram, or @BladeFoodPage on Twitter.

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