Millions of people have visited this site to find quick, decadent recipes. I've been blessed to work on this blog, and it's given me and my family so much joy!
I've decided that I will use Blackberry Babe as a platform to do more than just share recipes. I'd like to use it to give back to our communities, as well.
My focus for giving back is to alleviate hunger in our communities.
Each year, I host a virtual food drive benefiting Harvester's Virtual Food Network, with my family matching donations. Since 2017, we've raised enough to provide over 10,000 meals!
Here's More On Why I'm Focusing on Hunger
Before my son was born, I spent my free time volunteering with The Junior League of Greater Kansas City. I met great friends and gave time back to the city I loved so much. The league had chosen to focus on kids' nutrition; both the promotion of good food choices and providing extra food to kids who didn't have enough to eat. Through my work there, I taught parents and kids about the nutritional benefits of fresh foods like blackberries (most had never tried one!), helped families learn how to make healthy meals together, stuffed backpacks with food for the students to take home on Friday, and worked food bank events.
What I learned through this work was devastating. I learned that 15.8 million children live in food insecure households in the United States. These children depend on school breakfasts and lunches as their main source of nutrition, and may worry about where their next meal comes from. To combat this, local organizations in Kansas City are helping to supplement school programs so that no kid comes to school hungry on Monday morning.
Once, I staffed a monthly food pick up for parents of elementary school children. I unpacked boxes and helped divvy out rations to the parents who came. This particular school served low income, primarily Hispanic residents. Parents arrived in droves with their children in tow to pick up bulk frozen chicken, rice, beans and canned goods. The gratitude and relief in the room was palpable.
I will never forget my conversation with their school principal. She said that many of the mothers had figured out how to stretch this food to last an entire month. This was unbelievable to me. It was less food than I typically buy in a week for my little family of three. Since beginning this program, she had seen massive improvements in student's attention spans and willingness to learn, because these meager rations were better than none at all.
The problems that come with poverty are felt deeply by children. Many of her students were transient, some living in homes with no plumbing or electricity. She expressed that these kids had enough to worry about without being hungry, too. People often talk about moments that change their hearts for good. This was one of them for me.
There is so much good happening already, and so much yet to be done. You can read about a few of these programs here.
If you feel compelled, I think that Feeding America and Harvester's are both doing an excellent job to combat hunger in America. You can donate to them by following these links: