A Beautiful Mess Food Drive 2016

ABM food driveHappy October, friends! We are excited to announce that October is food drive month here at A Beautiful Mess. We love food, sharing recipes with you guys, and blogging about places to eat when we travel. We have a cookbook coming out next year, and this past winter, Emma partnered with some local friends in Springfield, MO to open The Golden Girl Rum Club. As ABM has grown over the years, due to YOUR continued support and interest, we have looked to find ways to incorporate things we are passionate about into projects where we can give back. In 2015, we took our passion for home decor and partnered with Habitat for Humanity—and we gave away a house, which was really fun! In 2016, we thought we’d do something that somehow incorporated our passion for food, and so we began brainstorming.

We started thinking about hunger and food scarcity. I know a lot of times when I think about issues like these, I tend to think of them as far off problems affecting people in other parts of the world, but the truth is that they are often much closer than you think. Hunger is often right in our own backyards. So we started thinking how we could get involved. We also recognize that as an online business, we have created a community that spans all over the USA and even all over the world. We wanted to find a way to let everyone get involved if possible, so we can make the biggest difference we can through our little corner of the Internet here on A Beautiful Mess. So, we have three action steps that go along with our food drive month, and we hope that almost ALL of you interested will be able to get involved in some capacity.

Why host a food drive? Why does this matter to me?

In truth this is something I’ve been passionate about since college when I took a world hunger class and first understood that this issue touches almost every community in some way—not just areas you might typically think of. So, if we ever meet up for coffee, I’d love to chat for at least an hour about hunger, food scarcity, and just the general climate of packaged foods in the USA. But, I’ll try to stay a bit more focused here for now. 🙂 The big reason why we wanted to host a food drive highlighting local hunger issues is because it’s something we can ALL get involved in. World hunger is a huge problem, likely super expensive and time consuming to solve (if that’s even possible), and plagued by huge cultural and political divides that make it even more difficult. When a problem is that big, it’s easy to get turned off and believe you can’t truly do anything to make a difference. But we can!!!! We can make a huge impact if we all focus on figuring out what we can do in our own communities. If you can get involved on a larger scale, do it. But if you take anything away from this post, I hope it’s the idea that you can make a difference wherever you live, so long as you are willing to look up a little info and give your time and/or resources.

Let me give you a little example of what I’m talking about. In the Ozarks, where Elsie and I grew up, 16% of the population live in food scarcity (which means they don’t know where their next meal is going to come from). And 67% of households regularly have to choose between being able to pay their utility bill or affording groceries. This is my home, where I grew up and where I currently live. How do I know this? The information is readily available on my local food bank’s website, Ozarks Food Harvest. By simply spending a few minutes on the site, I can easily find programs and events I could choose to volunteer my time at, as well as easy options to donate food or money when possible.

What can I do?

Like we said, we’ve got three ways you can participate in the A Beautiful Mess Food Drive this month. Here’s how you can help:

1. Understand hunger issues in your area. 

Find out where your local food bank is and check out their site. Food banks are usually the organization that serves the surrounding community by stocking food, usually nonperishables, and supplies them to other organizations or individuals in need. So if you’re looking to centralize your efforts, find out where your food bank is and how you can help them service your community better. Usually their websites are FULL of information about your community, stats like the ones I just shared about the Ozarks, and often even more info about hunger in your part of the world. So your first step is to become aware of the issues your community faces so that you can understand better how you can give back.

2. Join in our virtual food drive.

During the month of October, we are hosting a virtual food drive on Instagram. We ask that you post an image of food (it can be what you are eating right then), something you made recently, or a meal you are enjoying out and use the hashtag #ABMfooddrive with your post. For every post to the hashtag, ABM will donate $1 up to $10,000 that will be split and donated between Emma and Elsie’s local food banks: Ozarks Food Harvest in Springfield, MO and Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville, TN. Posting will not only raise money, we hope it will also raise awareness about hunger in other local communities. So don’t be afraid to share more in your posts if you want.

If we reach our goal of 10,000 posts, feel free to keep posting! We will continue to raise awareness, and it’s possible that we may find other organizations who can help match the donations past what A Beautiful Mess can afford to give. Who knows! But we’ll be on the lookout, so if you see that we’ve reached our goal or surpassed it, it’s still OK to keep participating.

3. We will be hosting an in-person food drive and meet up.

If you are in the Nashville, TN area on October 30th, we will be hosting a food drive at White’s Mercantile 12th Ave location from 2-4pm to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. Elsie and I will be there hanging out and would love to meet you! So if you’re around, come by and bring some nonperishables, and we’ll donate them to the food bank for you. We will post a list of most useful items closer to the event date.

That’s it! Pretty simple. You can learn more about hunger in your area, join in our virtual food drive on Instagram, and if you’re in Nashville, come participate in our in-person food drive at the end of the month. We truly believe we have the THE BEST READERS IN THE WORLD, so I know you guys are going to make this project successful! Thank you in advance. xo. Emma + Elsie

  • This is awesome girls, if only all bloggers did something similar and used their platforms to give back!
    By the way I came across this short video today, it might interest you! https://www.facebook.com/opposingviews/videos/10154095071846051/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED
    All the best, and thank you for showing the example! I really hope you can find businesses to match the donation beyond 10k (as I don’t doubt this sum will be reached pretty quickly)!

  • Thanks so much! Donating money is so much more helpful than a typical food drive. Did you see this? http://elitedaily.com/social-news/why-canned-food-drives-suck-video/1330240/

    Also, for anyone in Colorado, check out HungerFreeColorado.org

  • LOVE seeing you all spread the word on things like this!

    I live in Los Angeles, and as everyone knows, we have a really, really overwhelming problem homelessness.

    Recently my friend Axel had a similar idea, except instead of collecting food, he wanted to collect clothes for the homeless.
    He threw a big bbq with live music at his place, and the only requirement for coming was to bring something to donate! By the end of the party, the pile of donations was covering his entire living room (yes, even touching the ceiling).

    Lots of respect for you all to do this.

  • Love this! One thought, perhaps suggest that readers also post photos of food they are donating along with their own meals? That way we can all make a small local impact as well.

  • Great idea, thanks for making it a problem with answers! pointing out tangible things we can help with is awesome.

  • This is a lovely idea! Just a tip, though–if you’re willing to purchase something to donate (versus cleaning out your cupboards), call your local food bank and ask what they need. It can vary depending on the bank in question’s relationship with local stores, farms, restaurants, etc., and varies a LOT seasonally.

  • This is so awesome! You girls are inspiring! Heading to instagram now to post a food pic….

    xo, Heather

  • This is fantastic and I love the way you’re getting everyone involved regardless of their income level. My family’s used food banks a few times before, and I know what a difference they can make to people. Not to mention it helps fight the stigma. So I will absolutely be participating and spreading the word.

  • This is such a great idea! I love that blogs can make a deep impact – both in their local community and worldwide. <3

  • This is a great idea! I love seeing ABM using there vast audience for good! I know you guys don’t like to get political on here, but it always makes me happy when I see you using the community you have created here in deeper ways.

  • You’re makin’ me tear up first thing in the morning. Thank you for doing this; for all you do. I’m in.

  • This is a so sweet idea. We really have no idea of what people around us is struggle with and this is a wonderful idea!

    So, sure, count on me!

    XOXO Sara

  • I love this and will be participating. In college, I interned for an organization that taught low income teenagers to build gardens for low income families in the community. The director told me when they started also growing a CSA type box to give to the teens, they were actually shocked how much of a difference they said it made. It was definitely an eye opener for me to realize how much food scarcity was an issue even in my college’s cute little town. Anyway, kudos to you guys for this awesome project!

  • I love this! Count me in. I know this is an issue that greatly impacts my local community. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I love this idea! I’m currently interning at Action Ministries in Athens, GA, and food scarcity is one of the big things we focus on. I’m all about spreading awareness for it and the idea of an online food drive is so cool!

  • AWESOME idea. I really love your team’s giving spirit. I hope this continues to be a yearly thing for you guys. Super inspiring 🙂

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