Eat, Feed, Play

One thing I’ve always liked about New Hampshire is that when there’s a problem in our community, people are always there to step up and solve it. Today, one out of nine people in New Hampshire do not know where their next meal is coming from. This includes people of all ages, from seniors living alone to children who don’t have lunch money.

But here’s the good news:

The New Hampshire Food Bank is working really, really hard to make sure that every New Hampshirite gets the healthy food that they need. The rest of the good news is that it’s really easy for us to help! I learned about the Food Bank a few years ago when I was volunteering for an event called the Best of New Hampshire Party. Sounds great, right? New Hampshire residents vote for their favorite restaurants, coffee shops, burgers, cupcakes, and everything else you can imagine, the winners bring their award-winning bites to a large event venue where guests can eat and drink everything in sight, and the proceeds from the party, hosted by NH Magazine, are donated to the Food Bank.

This event was truly excellent, and was even attended by Captain Morgan himself! But the most important detail was the partnership with the Food Bank. In 2015, The Food Bank distributed more than 12.2 million pounds of food to local food pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies. This is an 11% increase from 2014! The Food Bank was able to provide 10,409,623 meals to the hungry and supplies over 500 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters throughout the state.

The reason I’m writing this post is not to guilt us all into donating our life savings to the Food Bank (though if you want to, head on over to donate!) but just to bring awareness to the issue. New Hampshire is a phenomenal place to live, and part of the reason I continue to live here is because of the organizations that help our communities and bring us all closer together.

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Brewers at the St. Paddy’s Day Brewfest

Even if you don’t have the funds to continuously support nonprofits, finding ways to help can make all the difference! The Food Bank hosts dozens of fundraisers and seriously awesome events throughout the year, and volunteering is a great way to have a lasting impact.

For example, the Food Bank hosted their first Steel Chef competition a few weeks ago, hosted by Food Network personality Chef Robert Irvine!! I was seriously bummed that I couldn’t attend that event, but here are some photos.

On St. Patrick’s Day weekend I helped out at Beara Irish Brewing Company’s inaugural St. DSC06551Paddy’s Day Brewfest! Complete with bagpipes and 16 different Seacoast breweries offering samples of beer and ciders, it was a great opportunity to talk to business owners and learn the art of opening a new brewery, and network with like-minded volunteers and community members from around the state. A win-win in my book!

In conclusion, I think it’s really important to remember the role that food has in our lives. It can be one of our greatest comforts and one of our most basic human needs.

As I mentioned before, the Food Bank has tons of volunteer opportunities! While they are based in Manchester, they serve the entire state and if you’d like to get involved and don’t live in the area, you can participate in their Ambassador Training. This means you’ll be a trained, dedicated individual and a voice for the Food Bank, and the hungry, in your part of the state! You could also help out at your local soup kitchen or start a food collection drive wherever you work. If you’re interested in helping in any way, you can reach out to the Food Bank’s volunteer coordinator, and my awesome friend, Emily, at emacri@nhfoodbank.org.

Also in case you’re wondering, this year’s Best of New Hampshire Party is Thursday, June 16 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. See you there!

There are tons of awesome nonprofits in NH. What organizations inspire you? Let us know in the comments, and as always send us your food-related blog topics to eatdrinkplay@stayworkplay.org!

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