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Sometimes philanthropy is not molded into your traditional 5K, bag of donated clothes, or signed check. Sometimes philanthropic events and organizations focus on a different and increasingly popular outlet for giving back – food. Food philanthropy is an expansive category that houses many different variations of giving back while using food to do so. With hunger and food insecurity becoming more prevalent in the United States, many organizations are discovering the philanthropic benefits of providing food directly to those in need of it. They do so through various creative, and sometimes fun, means.


Providing meals to food insecure families is a great way for Samaritans to practice their cooking skills while getting involved in their communities. Food drives are commonly organized by large groups of people, like a sports team or office, to collect preserved goods to be donated to local food pantries. Food pantries offer sealed foods to those in need that can be stored for a later time, preventing future hunger. 


Especially around the holidays, a common event that many like to partake in is providing home-cooked meals to those in need. Those involved can contribute by providing ingredients, helping to make and serve the food, or even just volunteering their kitchen and supplies to execute the event. 


Some food philanthropic events can also result in a monetary donation as well. A popular charity event for even the youngest philanthropists, bake sales are commonly used in schools and educational institutions. The idea behind it is that baked goods are sold, with most, if not all, of the profits going towards a charitable cause. Another lesser-known event that is gaining popularity is a dinner party. The person hosting will supply the food, and instead of asking guests to bring a dish, they are asked to donate to a charitable cause of the host’s choice. 


While this is still a monetary donation being made, the funds are raised through donated food by individuals who want to be more involved in the act by baking. These events also do not need to be organized by an official business or non-profit organization. They can simply be organized by an individual who has a desire to give back and wants a creative outlet to do so through cooking or baking. 


Large events are not the only way to become involved in food philanthropy. Some restaurants, cafes, and stores even provide patrons with the option to participate while ordering food or buying groceries for themselves. There are pizza shops and coffee stands that give customers the option to purchase a slice or hot drink for someone in need while buying for themselves. Some grocery stores provide customers with the option to buy a pre-packed bag full of groceries for a family and all they have to do is add it to their bill. 


Since food and drink are essentials for survival, it is not surprising that many charitable organizations are focused on giving back to a cause for basic necessities.