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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Winter Warmth

It's that time of year again. The weather is cold, and the Sandia Mountains near my home have received their first dusting of snow. Although I hate cold weather, there nevertheless is something enjoyable about this time of year.

It's nice to wrap up in a warm robe and slippers first thing in the morning, and then to change into a warm sweater or sweatshirt, to slip into flannel pajamas at the end of the day, and to feel warm and comfortable under the blankets at night. I enjoy a cup of hot tea first thing in the morning. And my thoughts turn to comfort food at this time of year: stews, soups, macaroni and cheese! Local grocery stores have had some great sales on soup, so my pantry shelves are groaning with the numerous cans of soup I have bought for the winter.

This also is the time of year when the multiple appeals for funds arrive in my mail box. I drew the line recently when the day's mail brought two different appeals for money from the same organization, a big food bank. I support this organization, but am I really more likely to donate when I get two appeals on the same day?

Cold weather and the approaching holidays also signal the start of holiday food drives. This is something I have supported for many, many years. That millions of people in this country go hungry because they cannot afford food is something that is simply not acceptable. It takes so little to make a difference in the life of a hungry person. Yesterday I bought 10 cans of vegetables for $.50 each; all will be donated to a food pantry or drive. Stuffing mix was on sale for $.99/box. Soup and cereal and peanut butter were on sale, too. Grocery stores are offering great prices on so many items.

You don't have to be a big company or a member of a huge group to sponsor a food drive. A volunteer hike leader in a local hiking group of which I am a member is hosting a hike/food drive this Saturday to benefit our local food bank. He will collect the food and deliver it to Roadrunner Food Bank. Even better, he suggests that people donate pet food as well as food for humans.

Feeding the hungry is one of my causes, so I donate a lot to various food drives and I volunteer weekly at a local food pantry. I don't expect everyone to have my level of commitment to this cause. But just think of how many people we could feed if 1 million or 2 million or 10 million shoppers each bought and donated just one item to their local food bank. Many grocery stores have collection barrels at the front of their stores. So the next time you go grocery shopping, please consider picking up an extra non-perishable item or two and dropping it in the barrel as you leave the store. Your act of generosity will warm not only the person who receives it, but it may warm your heart, too.