Rachael Ray and Fellow Food Lovers Do Good and Give Back

All sorts of people and many organizations celebrated #GivingTuesday. But don’t worry, it’s not too late to show your generosity and your love of food – even if it’s not Tuesday.
Rachael Ray

FNS7 Episode 8 Rachael Ray Star Challenge

FNS7 Episode 8 Star of "The Racheal Ray Show," Rachael Ray, giving web interview for the Finalists Rachael Ray Show Star Challenge.

Photo by: Edward Chen/Creel Films ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

Edward Chen/Creel Films, 2011, Television Food Network, G.P.

The holidays are a time of giving, and by that we don’t mean just the stuff you wrap in pretty paper, tie with a bow and tuck under the tree or exchange in the glow of your menorah – or whatever your tradition may be. It’s a time of reaching out and helping others. But sometimes, that sentiment can get lost in the doorbuster, cybersale rush of it all.

The national movement called #GivingTuesday was started in 2012 as an antidote to the acquisition fever that grips us during the holiday shopping season – the anti-Black Friday or Cyber Monday. On Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014, businesses, charities, community centers, celebrities, and regular folks like you and me were encouraged to do something to give back – through charitable contributions, volunteerism or just doing a lovely, generous thing for another person.

All sorts of people and lots of organizations thought up wonderful ways to help.

Food Network’s Rachael Ray, for instance, helped make a little boy named Ben’s dreams come true. Ben’s response when he found out that Rachael had worked out a way for him to check off not one but two items on his to-see list (Ben is steadily losing his sight) is priceless. Watch here.

Wal-Mart was also inspired by #GivingTuesday to donate $1.5 million to freshen up 75 food pantries that serve the hungry, funding new equipment, furniture and other items. Which food pantries get funding will be determined by an online vote, taking place now through December 12. You can vote once every day from now until then here.

Adobe pledged to donate up to $100,000 to the United Nations’ World Food Programme to help fight world hunger, promising to donate $10 for every tweet, up to 10,000 tweets, that used the hashtags #CreateChange and #GivingTuesday, on Dec. 2. (Here’s hoping the goal was reached.)

Also in honor of #GivingTuesday, organizations like Newman’s Own Foundation offered matching grants for groups, including the National Farm to School Network and Edible Schoolyard NYC, that aim to educate and inspire students to make fresh, healthy food choices.

The list goes on. But don’t worry, just because #GivingTuesday is past doesn’t mean you’ve missed your chance to show your generosity and your love of food.

Why not think of a way you can do good via food? It could be something as simple as volunteering at your local food pantry or baking cookies for a lonely neighbor. Be creative and share the bounty. Because any day can be #GivingTuesday – even if it’s a Friday … or a Saturday … or a Sunday ...

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