“You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.” – Anthony Bourdain
Fall is my most favorite time of year. Chunky sweaters. Leggings. Boots. Pretty much my dream uniform. Throw in a caramel apple cider and I would freeze time to live in that moment indefinitely.
But what I love most about fall is that it signals the start of the holiday season. Beginning with my birthday in mid-October, followed by Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
For me, the highlight of the holiday season is all the time we get to spend around the table with family and friends. Spending time eating, drinking, talking about their lives, their ideas, their passions. Quality time spent with real people, not digital images of them.
A tradition recently added to my holiday routine is hosting an intimate meal for friends in the early fall. It’s a time to come together before crazy holiday schedules usher us into 2017 before we are even aware it is happening.
With September being Hunger Action Month, the meal focuses on all the ways people go hungry in America. They are not just people who live on the streets. Often, they are families who have a home. And a car. Just not enough money to make it to the end of the month. They are kids in school whose only meals come from the school.
One in seven people struggle with hunger in America. And they look just like you and me.
Fighting hunger is a cause close to my heart. To me, there are certain fundamental rights we all have as humans on this tiny blue planet. One of those rights is the ability to have access to food, especially in this age of abundance.
This year’s theme was Making Mealtime Matter and the idea of bringing people together around the table all year round, not just during the holidays.
My friends at Cheeky are equally passionate about ending hunger in the US. You’ve heard me share about them before, but they recently launched a new dinnerware line. Their new line is not only beautifully chic, it donates meals to Feeding America. For every 16-piece set purchased, 16 meals are donated. When purchased individually, each piece donates one meal.
To date, Cheeky has donated over 9 million meals and countless volunteer hours, feeding millions across the US.
Wes Whitehead, the Chef extraordinar behind West Kitchen, conceived a meal addressing food waste (70 billion pounds per year, to be exact), by creating a menu using “ugly foods.” Not only did he utilize foods we normally give a once over in the store, he used the food in its entirety.
We, of course, did our part of reducing food waste by eating every last crumb of his delectable food.
Also joining in on the fun were my friends from For Better Not Worse. I am obsessed with their amazingly soft shirts. More importantly, they too believe every person deserves three meals a day.
They help to end hunger by working with local schools in Los Angeles to identify children who eat only when at school. For every shirt sold, FBNW donates a bag of groceries for these children.
During September, if you buy a shirt using the code MakeMealtimeMatter, they will double their donation. That means two bags of groceries are given for every shirt sold!
While September is a month dedicated to addressing hunger in the US, it lasts all year. Image the change we could make and the people we could feed, simply by sharing meals together all year round.
Keep up with Cheeky and their latest adventures in ending hunger on Instagram. For those who love looking at food all day, follow West Kitchen on Instagram. And follow all the good For Better Not Worse is doing by feeding kids in Los Angeles here.