Tips On How You Can Help

Diverse volunteers sorting food into cardboard boxes for charity

Did you know September is Hunger Action Month?

According to a 2014 study by Feeding America46.5 million Americans utilize a food bank.

Lisa Tomasi, Philanthropy Expert and Founder of e-giving site YouGiveGoods, stresses that while many may feel that a small effort isn’t enough to make a change, every little bit helps someone who is facing hunger. Lisa has provided her insight for those who want to band together and help a good cause.

Tips to Fight Back During Hunger Action Month:

  1. Advocate. Use your voice to spread the word about hunger in your community. Social media has made this quite easy to do. Alert your online community that we are in the midst of Hunger Action Month and about the plight of the hungry in their own backyards. Share quotes and statistics about hunger and ask them to support their local hunger relief organization.
  2. Volunteer. Most food banks, pantries and soup kitchens rely on volunteers to make their operations work. Volunteers can sort donations, stock shelves and help with distribution. Volunteers can also frequently help from home in the form of virtual volunteering. Contact your local hunger relief organization to see if you can utilize your specific skills to help them with business operations like accounting, marketing, website and administration.
  3. Run a food drive. You can really increase your impact by organizing your own food drive. Food drives run in conjunction with your company, school, church or group tend to have the best results. And, always add an online component to your traditional drive (or run your online drive alone). Use YouGiveGoods.com to run an online drive for your local food pantry. The online drive service is free to use, easy to share on social media, and simple for supporters to shop online for brand-new most-needed food items which are shipped directly to the pantry at the close of the drive.
  4. Donate money. Hunger relief organizations need monetary donations to operate. Any size donation will be welcomed.
  5. Donate food. Don’t just walk by the donation bin at your school, store or company. Make a point to donate food whenever the opportunity arises.

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For more ways you can help, see Lisa’s site or contact your local Food Bank.  There is really no reason we should have a hunger problem here in America.

One Small Change – February Report and March Challenge

This went a bit slower this month, but I am happy to say that we used our reusable grocery bags more than not at the new organic food market that just opened up out here.  Yay!  I’m getting better at it…haha.  We did get most of our lightbulbs changed over though to energy efficient ones so that was a good thing.  The meal planning is a slow starter and while we did cut down the amount of time we spent at the grocery store, it is still not what I’d consider “there” yet.  So I’m going to cheat a little bit and extend that over to the March challenge.  I am also going to add to it by challenging myself to make as much of our “extras” in the pantry and fridge as possible.  Right now I am processing whey from yogurt to make homemade mayo with.  I found the information for it at the blog, Cheeseslave here.  The mayo recipe is here.  I found the information on it over at Sono-MA.  Great food ideas there!

The other thing we are doing is getting rid of the last of the plastic stuff…mainly little toys to be honest.  The girls are going to donate them and we are going to work on only bringing in quality made, hand made and/or natural materials for toys from now on.  We’ve said this before and did really well, but then a slight slip leads to an avalanche, so we need to backtrack a bit and get on our path again.  My thoughts are I’d love to see the girls with all natural toys that they can pass down to their children someday.  It’s been great taking all the wooden baby toys and organic baby toys and pass them down to my darling grandson…makes me feel good to know he has some quality toys to play with that have been loved before and can be loved by another later on in their little family.

So that’s the challenge and report…go check out One Small Change over at Hip Mama Mountain for more inspirational ideas!

Peace!

One Small Change – January Report and February Challenge

Well, we were able to clean out around 200 items from our home (that includes little toys that went unused) and will be taking them to the Goodwill this week.  I really need to improve on my grocery bag usage.  I don’t know why this one is such a hard one for me to just get…  I think to help I’ll be making some colorful bags to use to make it more interesting visually.  Hah!  Definitely will keep up the decluttering efforts too!

For this month, we will be working on changing over all the lightbulbs in the house to energy efficient ones, continue working on using recyclable bags for groceries, and 2 week meal planning so we are only going to the store 2-3 times per month rather than every week.   Nicole, over at Frontier Dreams, is the inspiration behind this one.  Thanks Ni!

Hope everyone is having a great week so far!  Peace!

Oh The Cold

Need batteries for the camera so no pics today but will have some up later after picking up supplies.  With that said, it’s been cold here!  Now I know you all who live in the North are probably laughing at us Southern weaklings down here..hehe, but Austin is not used to these temperatures.  Last night it was in the teens and when I looked at the thermometer this morning it was still only 18 degrees at about 9AM.  CCCoolldd!  Plants have suffered, but I did get a good, thick (6-7″) mulching down the week before this cold front moved in, so I’m hanging on to hope that the roots of most of my garden survived and will spring forth in, well Spring.  I dared to dig down into the mulch in one spot of the garden to see what it looked like and there was green, thank the gods!  So I’ll keep crossing my fingers.

I happen to love the cold myself.  I love bundling up in sweaters, sipping hot coffee in the middle of the day and seeing the ice on the birdbath, animal troughs, etc..  I don’t know how well I’d fare up where there is real cold, but this is a good Winter here and I’m embracing every chilly aspect of it.  I feel like I was really prepared this year in the garden, so that makes it more bearable I think.

My Larkspur sprouts are all doing well, as are the poppies and ranunculus.  I layered leaves on all of them and they are now popping up through those, so I think they will survive.  The animals have all been given extra hay and we buttoned down the coop (which is just hardware cloth on 2 sides normally), so the goats and chickens are all snuggly and warm.  The cats can’t bare to go out, but since we don’t do cat boxes, they are forced out in the morning to do their business and quickly run back to the front door, crying loudly to let us know they need back in..haha!  The ferrets are cocooning in their cave made of an old bath mat and towels…they are toasty indeed.

Yesterday, my dear friend Jeanne and I processed about 30+ pounds of deer sausage, thanks to the hunting capabilities of our sweethearts.  We had so much fun, even though it was a ton of work.   But when we looked at all that we accomplished and the good food we have to feed our family throughout the year, it makes it all that much more worth it.  On top of the sausage we have roasts, steaks and tender loin.  Thankfully my girls love fresh venison, so none of it goes to waste around here.  J will be making jerky this afternoon and cold smoking the links before freezing them.  We made Breakfast sausage, Mild Italian, Hot and Spicey and a Cajun sausage.  Yum!  Throw in a couple glasses of red wine and we had a party yesterday with all our work.  Fun!

Last week was not only my darling J’s birthday, happy birthday love, but also our 10th wedding anniversary.  10 years!  Holy moly!  It’s been quite the ride and I am really looking forward to many more years.  We are a lucky couple to have found each other and to have found true happiness with each other, even on the days I want to wring his neck I just love that man!

Hope everyone is hunkered down, keeping warm and enjoying their New Year.  Don’t forget to check out One Small Change over at Hip Mama Mountain.  There are now over 200 participants from all over the world signed up.  Suzy’s local paper wrote an article, their radio station has it up on their website and Mothering Magazine is promoting it.  Yay!  So far the girls and I have bagged up 2 large bags of toys and clothes to be donated and still have a couple closets to go this month.  It feels good to lighten the load and know that it’s going to bring smiles to faces somewhere else.  Farmgirl told me that she has had fun with some of the stuff for a long time and now she was ready to let some other children know the fun of her things..haha.  That right there is a small change that I hope will ripple out….thank you girls, for your generosity…and thank you all who have found Suzy’s movement through AmLo Farms.  It really doesn’t take much to make a difference, and you all are a part of that difference with each small step we all take!

XOXO.  Peace!

I Dare You!

So the challenge has been placed…Suzy, over at Hip Mountain Mama, is challenging all of us in blogland to One Small Change per month.  The idea is if we all make just one small change in our lifestyle that the ripple effect of this will better our environment and our planet.  Things to change can be as simple as cooking more at home, or using reusable shopping bags.  The challenge is to write about what you want to change, work on it for the month and then the first of the following month you let everyone know how it went and what your next challenge is.  The end date is April 22, Earth Day.  On that day you will post about how the entire challenge went; listing all the changes you made and how they affected your immediate world.  She’s even offering prizes as incentives!  The biggest prize however is how your one small change can make an impact.

So for the challenge, the girls and are going to work on donating and decluttering this month.  They’ve already filled up 2 large trash bags with things to donate to children’s charities here locally, and we’ll be coming up with more as the month moves forward.  The idea behind this is to not only help out those who don’t have, but to declutter our world in the process.  I am also making a personal challenge to myself to remember the shopping bags when I go to the store!

What changes do you want to make in this new year?  Care to join us?

Peace!