Food For Thought: Let’s Taco Bout Volunteering

June 22, 2017

The Importance Of Feeding The Soul By Helping Others

It’s Thursday. Your morning alarm goes off. You stretch your restful limbs against clean sheets and roll your head deeper into your pillow to avoid the stinging sound. Your pillow is as fluffy as a marshmallow and you bask in its soft comfort for a few blissful moments until the “snooze” button you barely remember pushing comes back to haunt you. The alarm’s back, baby! With vengeance! A loud, beeping sound and buzzy hum reaches your ears. You can sleep no more. You rise from your cozy bed and greet the day. After performing a quick bathroom ritual, you meander to your refrigerator in bunny slippers and prop it open. You pause. You stare at the fridge’s vast contents with an expectant gaze. Surely, something will jump out at you… something that requires minimal effort, yet offers hot, full nutrition will make itself known, as if to say “eat me!” Your eyes glaze over the nearly ripe tomatoes, skip past the jar of mayonnaise and bottle of expired ketchup and overlook the assortments of milk: whole, 2%, and half and half.

Ta-da! Your eyes find the glimmer of a creased sheet of tin foil wrapped around a plate on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Beneath its shiny, glittering shield lay 2 and ¼ TACOS. These traditional Mexican tacos were lovingly forged two nights ago when you hosted a Taco Tuesday Fiesta for your closest friends, which included DIY tacos. Ah, tacos! Beautiful, reliable, filled-to-the-brim tacos!

There’s not much time. You transfer 1 and ¼ tacos to a fresh plate, and microwave it for a minute, using the 60 seconds of cook time to escort the remaining 1 taco into an air-tight plastic bag, knowing it will make a delicious mid-morning snack at work. You imagine thanking yourself later. “You’re welcome, me,” you think prematurely.

The aroma of tacos fills the room rapidly. It’s time to feast! You scarf down the 1 and 1/4s tacos, admiring how the flavors have been emboldened by time in the refrigerator. You dress in a pinch, grab coffee, and off you go to work.

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If you’re reading this, it’s likely you find the event described to be mundane. But it’s extraordinary. If this morning is familiar to you, here are a few wonders worth noting:

1. You’re healthy. You can stretch your arms and legs at will and have complete agency over your body.

2. Your sheets are clean, your pillow is fluffy, and your bed is not only comfortable, it’s yours.

3. You have a reason to wake up in the morning: a job. You have places to go and things to do.

4. You live in a home with reliable electricity and working kitchen appliances.

5. You have friends and a community that you can band together for social engagements.

6. You have the means to put on a taco party. This means you can lead, organize, and give of yourself.

7. You have enough food to look into a fridge and search with your heart — not just your stomach — for exactly the right choice. You have clean water to make coffee.

For millions of people, even here in the U.S., any one of these 7 items might be a far cry from reality. We can get so caught up in the rituals of life, that we take for granted the gifts we’ve come to know as common and expected: being physically healthy and able, clean, employed, sheltered, loved, supported, educated or even just full.

If you can find gratitude for the implicit gifts of your life and of your circumstances, you can see why it’s important to use your privilege to spread gifts of goodwill or better circumstances to others. Summer is the best time for family activities and learning outside the classroom. Volunteering is a great way to do both.

If you think everyone deserves taco leftovers for breakfast before work, and you have a minute, we should taco ‘bout volunteering.

Volunteering is the hot sauce on your community taco: it spreads warmth all over.  When you give of yourself to causes that are meaningful to you, you make a positive impact from inside your tummy where fuzzy feelings are stored, to the outside.

What do you have in your life that you think is worth sharing? What can you do today to make someone else’s life better?

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These are a few of the non-profits that hit closest to my home and my heart:

FEEDING AMERICA

As a champion of food (and as a living human being who converts food to energy for survival), the mission to end hunger has always held priority for me. This nationwide organization represents that mission. 42 million people in the U.S. face hunger. Feeding America works with farmers and retailers who have a surplus of food to provide this surplus to over 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and school-based meal programs to help feed America. 98% of all donations go directly into these incredible programs that are actively serving people in need.

How can you help? Make an impact today with as little as $1 – that distributes 11 meals! Another incredible way to help is by volunteering your time at your local food bank or food pantry. Their website provides links to a local opportunity near you where you can get involved and help make a difference.

KARAM FOUNDATION: Books Not Bombs Campaign

With the current state of the Syrian conflict, over 3.3 million students suffered from disrupted education paths. The Karam Foundation began a campaign to help Syrian refugee students get scholarships and pursue an education. Together, with Karam Foundation, we can forge opportunities for the next generation of educated Syrians.

How can you help? For this cause, monetary donations make the greatest impact. But you can use your voice to spread the word about this scholarship campaign and get more people talking about the importance of education for Syrian youth. Sign the petition, share on Facebook and Twitter, print handouts and post them anywhere you can.

CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL COLORADO

I was raised on the eastern plains of Colorado, so this literally hits close to home. The staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado dedicate their time, efforts and research to the next generation of doers, dreamers, movers, shakers, and maybe competitive eaters! These medical magicians use their power, skills, time and talent to eradicate disease in children. And they accept humble volunteers like us — no medical background necessary!

How can you help? There are so many things you can do: Give blood. Donate gifts of toys, baby blankets, crayons, batteries, Play-Doh, or whatever you have to offer. Become an advocate. Share your time and your positivity with deserving kids. Help make a visit to the hospital a little less stressful.

CHARITY: WATER

“1 in 10 people lack access to clean water. We’re on a mission to change that.” Clean, safe drinking water can literally change everything in a developing country. By partnering with organizations, Charity: Water funds sustainable water projects around the world, where the need is greatest. So far, they’ve funded 22,936 projects that helped to provide clean drinking water to 7 million people around the world. And they’re not done!

How can you help? No matter your location, you can organize an event or fundraiser that raises funds and awareness for clean drinking water for developing countries. Have a crazy idea? Charity: Water provides the tools you need to campaign with ease on their website.

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You probably have something in your life you think is worth sharing – whether it’s an idea, a talent, a resource, or a connection. What can you do today to make someone else’s life better?

Share your thoughts in the comments below. Let’s give the world something to taco ‘bout!

XO, Mary Signature

& The Team at Eat! Be Mary!

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