Hi there. We are a (food obsessed!) mom and son who often talk about ways to feed the hungry (usually while we're eating). There are lots of ways that people do this here in Fairfield but we find that usually it's the same people. We came up with what we think is a very simple way to get many people to help, easily and regularly.
With help from the local food pantry on what's running low, we would identify one item in one grocery store each week (say, peanut butter or tuna fish or shampoo or toothpaste - any brand) and put a Shop for Hope (or whatever the catchy name is) card on the shelves near that item. It will say something like "Buying toothpaste today? How about picking up a tube for a neighbor in need?" followed by a couple of lines about the program. The shopper will pick up an extra tube or two or whatever, will pay for it at the cash register, and will add it to the collection in the front of the store for the week. Our shelter and pantry in town are run by Operation Hope, which has volunteers who are ready, willing and able to pick up the items each week. This is the case in many communities.
In this project, everybody wins. The shopper feels good about helping out someone (and maybe raises their awareness for the day about hunger), the store wins because they sell more product in a simple way that doesn't litter their store with people and signage, the pantry or shelter wins because they get publicity and more goods without having to turn to the same people, and - most importantly - the needy get some help from their neighbors.
This project is easily replicable in other communities. Our hunch is that when one store sees how easy it is (and how it spreads a feel-good feeling among their staff and their customers), they will spread the word throughout their chain.
Thanks for considering this. Carol (mom) and Chris (son) Dannhauser
Funded by Connecticut (June 2012)