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Gifts in Action: An Update from The Lunchbox Fund

The Lunchbox Fund

“This is what you did together: you all have literally turned the love of food into real food. And that will change these children’s lives.”

I’m writing with an exciting and heartwarming update from The Lunchbox Fund! Since raising $5,000 in February during our Feed South Africa campaign, they’ve already implemented a new program to support a group of children at an early development childhood center (ECDC) in Franschoek Valley, outside Cape Town.

ECDCs play a very important role in South Africa, especially in the informal settlements. Very often women will not have the money to cover childcare while they work, and will leave that child with someone who might put them at risk, be careless, inexperienced, young or just unable to provide the child with proper care. Seeing this, women in the townships have created small day care centers, often rooms in the back yards of their small homes or shacks, and take the children in for a nominal fee, offering basic school lessons, safety, education, and food during the day.

A recent survey of primary schoolchildren from a rural area in KwaZulu-Natal Province, revealed a great number of children with persistent micronutrient deficiencies including inadequate vitamin A status (40%) anemia (28%), and iodine deficiency (97%). By sourcing foods from a manufacturer and wholesale provider of low-cost, long life, nutritionally fortified, culturally appropriate foods, The Lunchbox Fund has been able to address the micronutrient deficiencies and provide a nutritionally balanced meal. It also removes the burden of providing food from the ECDC, allowing them to invest their resources in books, toys, kitchen equipment, and aides. The daily meal provided encourages parents to leave their children to be cared for and educated, rather than wandering the streets.

Beginning on March 1, The Lunchbox Fund began providing meals to an additional 208 children at ECDC’s in the Franschoek Valley, a food-producing region that attracts migrant workers, and where the need for nutritional support of children is huge. Our $5,000 has been allocated to The Franschoek Early Childhood Development Program, and will be providing 20,000 meals over the next year to approximately 75-100 children. How amazing!

Last week, I also received a personal email from Topaz Page-Green, The Lunchbox Fund’s founder.

“On behalf of The Lunchbox Fund we really want to Thank You for your incredible effort. We are so proud and grateful to be the recipient of your generous and energetic initiative.  It is truly not often that people follow through with what they set out to do - So what you have created stands out, successfully, a cut above and beyond the rest.

Thank You Thank You Thank You. 20,000 meals goes a long way.”

I hope you all feel incredibly inspired by what we’ve accomplished together. All of your posts, tweets, Facebook messages, and donations have made a real, tangible impact in the lives of children in South Africa whose lives will never be the same.

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Welcome to The Giving Table 2.0!

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F  O   U   N   D   E   R   '   S    L  E   T   T   E  R   .   J  A   N   1  4  ,  2  0  1  4

D E A R   B L O G G E R S ,   S U P P O R T E R S ,   A N D   F R I E N D S , 

The Giving Table is back! And we have some big goals for 2014.

To those of you who have been following this journey from the beginning, I appreciate your patience immensely as I've prepared for the next iteration of this movement. After a highly successful social action campaign last April, I took some much-needed time to consider our lessons learned,  dream about what can be achieved moving forward, plan a campaign strategy, and redesign the website. So thank you.

I hope you're just as excited as I am about what's on the horizon! 

Our mission of doing good with food hasn't changed, but a new giving model will help ensure that the impact we make in 2014 will be felt worldwide. You can read more about it here, as well as take a peek at The Giving Table's manifesto and FAQ sections.

F U N D I N G   T H E   F O O D   S Y S T E M 

After much consideration, I've decided to host future campaigns on the Causes platform. Causes is integrated with Facebook, the largest social media site in the world, and has the potential to draw even more participants to our activism and fundraising campaigns. If you have a Facebook account (and I'm guessing most of you do), you can access Causes seamlessly. Stop by today and support us! ("Supporting" a cause is the Facebook equivalent of "liking" a page.)

You may have noticed a new word: fundraising. Causes supports donations, which means we'll have the ability to directly impact food projects throughout the world. Through strategic partnerships with food nonprofits, bloggers will donate their posts to causes with tangible results, and micro-transactions from readers (less than $20), offer enormous potential to raise significant funding.

Consider this: Collectively, we have hundreds of thousands of readers. If just 1,000 of them donated $10, we'd have $10,000 for charity! By working together, it really is that simple, and I can't wait to get started.

If you're ready to join The Giving Table in 2014, here's how you can help.

G E T   I N V O L V E D  -  T H E   L U N C H B O X   F U N D   2 . 1 0 . 1 4 


The first campaign of 2014 will be held on FEBRUARY 10, 2014. Here's everything you need to know to get involved.

1. Visit the campaign page and pledge to donate your post. 

2. Review the guidelines to prepare your recipe and post.

3. Tell your friends, invite fellow bloggers, and help spread the word!

T H E   N E W   W E B S I T E 

I'm thrilled about our new space, and hope it inspires you to get more involved in food philanthropy. The photography was generously provided by my friend and fellow food blogger Erin Alderson, and I can't imagine the site without her spectacular images.

As you reacquaint yourself, here are a few places you'll want to visit.

About usBrush up on our mission, manifesto, and find answers to your questions.

Activism. Learn more about our giving model and what it truly means to "donate a post" to The Giving Table.

Social Media. Stop by the Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and check out our offerings on Pinterest.

Newsletter. If you haven't signed up for the newsletter, I encourage you to do so. This will ensure you'll stay updated about news and future campaigns.

Cheers to 2014, and all that we'll accomplish together!

Very sincerely, 

Nicole Gulotta
Founder, The Giving Table



New Regional Cookbook Supports Vermont Food Bank


This month, a fresh-from-the-farm cookbook has been released by Tracey Medeiros, who moved to Vermont nine years ago for her husband's airline job and fell in love with the food culture in the process. Small, independent farms are the lifeblood of Vermont's agriculture, and the farm-to-table movement has been a staple in local life for generations. As a state, Vermont exemplifies a standard of small-scale, community-minded, unadulterated agriculture that has become a national model.

She said in a recent interview that her hope with this The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook is "to keep these farmers employed and help them succeed. I also want to excite the younger generations, to plant that seed in our youth that says, ‘Maybe I will try to be a farmer one day.’"

In an effort to continue supporting local organizations, 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Vermont Food Bank to help sustain the important work they do. This is a wonderful opportunity to get your hands on a new cookbook and do some food philanthropy in the process.

Inside, you'll find classics like Vermont Cheddar Soup alongside fresh ideas like Ramp Dumplings or Raisin Hell Pie. No matter where you are in the country, you'll enjoy incorporating a piece of Vermont into your weekly menus.



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What would you do if you were hungry?

If you're browsing through your RSS feed or checking your Twitter stream this morning, you might notice a common theme. Today, 200 food bloggers are donating their posts to raise awareness about the issue of hunger in America. And we're planning to make some noise.

This event began last August, when I had the opportunity attend an early screening of A Place at the Table through a local professional network. This was well before Participant Media had designed an action center, but I walked away knowing that this would be a wonderful partnership with The Giving Table. (If you haven't had a chance to see the film yet, I encourage you to do so. If it's not playing in your town, you can also watch it on demand on iTunes and Amazon.)

In preparing for this event during the past few weeks, I've been humbled by the reception in the food blog community, and proud of what we've set out to accomplish together. This event (and this website, really) began because I believe I'm not the only one who cares about these issues. All my feelings have been affirmed as I've watched my inbox fill with RSVPs from fellow bloggers who are standing with us today.

We're all joining together for one reason: to make a difference in our food system. Millions are hungry, and as many as 50 million people are food insecure and don't know where their next meal is coming from. SNAP—the nation’s food stamp program—is at risk for severe cuts that would impact millions of families, especially children, that rely on school meals and food stamps to survive. In response to the film, the country's leading anti-hunger organizations, Share Our Strength, Bread for the World, Feeding America, and The Food and Research Action Center, are asking supporters to help spread the word.

Private sector programs and charities aren’t enough. The only sustainable solution is for government policies to change, so we must make our voices heard.

Here's how you can get involved:

1. See the film

2. Spread the word on social media (follow the #takeyourplace hashtag!)

3. Join thousands of other advocates and send a letter to Congress TODAY (it only takes 30 seconds!)

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Food Bloggers Create Free E-Cookbook to Support Charity:water

800 million people on the planet drink water that's likely to make
them sick. That's 1 in 9 of us. -- charity: water

Consider how much water you use each day. Brushing your teeth, washing hands, washing dishes, taking a shower, spraying your car with a hose, and filling up a pot of water to boil pasta or brew tea. In the United States, we can access water without giving it a second thought, but almost one billion people in the world do not have access to this luxury.

Food Bloggers Give Back

It's the season of giving, and the duo behind Minimalist Baker is doing something to help. Food Bloggers are a generous, passionate group, and 2012 has been a very philanthropic year for the food community. This summer, they rallied behind a campaign to end slavery in U.S. tomato fields. This fall, the husband and wife team behind A Couple Cooks released their cookbook for charity, and just in time for the holidays, a FREE E-Cookbook has been released.

Minimalist Baker teamed up with Kelsey of Happyolks, Erin of Naturally Ella, Kate of Cookie and Kate, Ashley of Edible Perspective and Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats to bring you an amazing E-Cookbook that is completely FREE to download.

The 1 Cup Water e-Cookbook contains 19 delicious recipes. All of the recipes contain at least one cup of water, which serves as a reminder to us that the abundance of clean water we have access to truly is a luxury.

The catch? All they ask in return is that you visit the Charity Water campaign page and consider making a donation. Charity Water puts 100% of funds raised directly toward the cause, which in this case will be to fund water projects in Ethiopia where 60% of the population does not have access to clean, drinking water.

I asked Dana and John to share a little bit about how the project came about, and what inspired them to give back.

Questions for Minimalist Baker

1. What inspired you to collaborate on a digital cookbook this season?

Minimalist Baker: One of the most exciting parts of foodblogging has been networking with other bloggers and foodies. We developed the original concept (each recipe contains one cup of water as a reminder of the luxury we have in abundant clean water), but we knew other food bloggers would bring new variety and creativity that we wouldn't have found any other way.

2. There are so many nonprofit organizations to choose from. What drew you to charity:water?

Minimalist Baker: The charity:water founder, Scott Harrison, spoke at an event I attended last summer. Beyond his remarkable story, he explained not only the great need for water, but the need for great charities. He finished by demonstrating that water changes everything. Water increases overall health of a nation, allows families to work, allows children to return to school, and so much more. Once humbled to realize the luxury I have in ridiculously easy access to water, involving myself in raising money for this cause was unquestionable - I had to do it.

Finally, charity:water has an amazing structure that really makes it unique to other charities. First, 100% of donations go straight to water projects. They have a foundation that pays for all of the credit card processing fees and administration fees. Second, you can track your donation to see what area of the world your donation benefited. Charity:water will email you with periodic updates and the exact location of the well you helped build.

3. What is your goal for this project, and how can readers help?

Minimalist Baker: We are going to raise $1,000 for charity:water by December 31st. We ask that donations be made directly to charity:water. We understand that not everybody can donate, so we ask that everyone at least consider donating their birthday to charity:water.

Lastly, just check out, share, and enjoy our cookbook!

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