Thank you to Candess Zona-Mendola of MakeFoodSafe for this week’s guest blog post! Learn more about Candess following the article.
When it comes to paying-it-forward, the topic of feeding the hungry is one that comes to the forefront of many people’s minds. However, in a world full of red tape and food service permits, this particular type of charity work is often difficult to do. Even recently, a volunteer pop-up soup kitchen was shut down by a local health department for lacking proper food service permits to feed the homeless. Now, this makes sense why a local governing body would not want random food served to people. There is a high price (especially for those without access to medical care). Food poisoning is a definite concern. Without the proper permits, it is impossible for there to be governance over whether food was properly prepared or held at the proper holding temperatures. In my line of work, I appreciate this governance. There are far too many people suffering from food poisoning in the US each year.
Depending on the state, the process of getting a food permit can be pricy and lengthy. It is not surprising that most organizations and members of the general public just don’t have the time or funds to do it. But we want our kids to learn how to care for the less fortunate. We want to show them how to feed the world. How can we accomplish this when there are hoops to jump through?
Well, recently, a small elementary school in Texas took hunger by the horns (that’s a little Texas humor for you). When the school learned that the local food bank was running out of a pretty particular set of ingredients, they wasted no time to jump into action. It turns out, the local food bank was in dire need of peanut butter and jelly!
Let’s face it, we all love us a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Even those with peanut allergies are able to partake in this iconic meal through the development of nut butter substitutes. The kids of this small Texas school agreed that no hungry person should need to go without a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. So, they ran a food drive. The third graders became the organizers of the event, sending out flyers to all of their classmates for donations, doing morning announcements on the intercom, and carefully collecting and taking an inventory of all of the jars donated. They encouraged their teachers, principal, and even the school librarian to donate jars of peanut butter and jelly for their mission. By the end of their drive, they had collected over 800 jars.
Now, their teachers did not let the learning lesson stop there. Through the cooperation of their school district and parents, the children all hopped into a bus and delivered the jars of peanut butter and jelly to the neighborhood food bank themselves. They loaded and uploaded them and helped the food bank put everything away. Not too shabby for a group of 8 and 9-year-olds! Let’s just say more than one kid went home that day feeling proud to have given back to their community. There are talks of the drive becoming a yearly thing at the school. Let’s hope it does!
As you can see, giving back can be small. Kids can help feed the hungry in small but profound ways. If we teach our children to give back and do good deeds when they are young, they will likely become charitable and giving adults – even if it is one PBJ at a time.
Candess is the Senior Trial Paralegal for the Lange Law Firm and the Editor of MakeFoodSafe.com. Candess became a paralegal in order to help people. When Candess learned that millions of Americans each year were becoming sick from food contaminated with pathogens, she wanted to do something about it. Ever the problem solver, Candess began by finding ways to get more helpful information about food safety concerns and solutions to families (especially other mothers) in a timely fashion. A mother of two, Candess lives in a suburb of Houston with her husband, Tim. When she is not saving the world one deadline at a time, Candess can be found channeling her inner chef or with coffee and a book.