It is again the time of the year when we start seeing food drive bins roll out to grocery stores, libraries, fire stations, and pretty much every other location with a roof. Of course it’s a nice idea to donate food to those in need, but I am always left wondering, “Why does the U.S. only encourage food donations during the holiday season???”
Well, obviously it is incorrect to say that Americans only donate food during the holiday season. Charitable contributions occur throughout the year. However, the sight of a food donation bin anywhere outside of the holiday season is remarkably rare. There are close to zero organizations which encourage food donations until October/November roll onto the calendar.
I understand that there is some logic to food donations in the Fall. The weather is getting colder and therefore the less fortunate who often have to spend considerable amounts of time in cold weather need an increased number of calories to survive.
However, the point of this rant is that it is wrong to limit charitable food donations to 2-3 months of the year. That idea is similar to limiting the study of black people in history to Black History Month or only learning about the contributions of women to society during Women’s History Month. Why not respect people with dark skin all year round? Why not learn about the historical contributions of women for all 12 months of the year? Why not provide support to the homeless and poor each and every month of the year?
Encouraging charitable food donations in November and charitable financial contributions in December enables people to check their personal “charity box” and forget about any further help. They can say, “Yep, I’ve done some good for the year and I don’t need to think about helping others until next year.” If our society is going to grow stronger, we cannot forget about people who are less fortunate than us for 10 to 11 months every year. We cannot simply buy several pounds of canned food and think that poverty has been alleviated by a meaningful degree. The idea that other people are suffering while we live comfortably should live in our minds like a rock in our shoe. We must remind ourselves every day that other people who live among us do not have the fundamentals necessary to ensure their wellbeing and happiness.