Skip the gifts and make a donation in your friend’s name. Here are some of the great national hunger charities, restaurant or food-adjacent organizations, and non-profits providing culinary job training, education, meals for people in need, and more.
National Food or Restaurant-Related Charities
Edible Schoolyard aims to integrate gardening and food education into the curriculum of schools across the nation as well as free, nutritious lunches for every child in America. More info here.
World Kitchen is chef José Andrés’ international organization focused on health, education, and jobs for people living in poverty around the world. They advocate for clean cook stoves and sanitation training, culinary training, and kitchens in schools. More info here.
Feeding America is a nationwide network of hunger relief charities. Use its online locator to find a local food bank or give money directly for their work in research, disaster response, and programs for children and seniors. More info here.
Meals on Wheels America focuses on bringing hot meals to homebound seniors. The national organization connects over 2 million volunteers in 5,000 communities. More info here.
Share Our Strength works to end childhood hunger in America. They work with state programs and grant funds to local charities. They spend about $12 million annually on these programs and raise money through direct donations as well as corporate partnerships and dining events. More info here.
Feed the Children is an NGO that delivers food, supplies, medicine, clothing, and disaster relief to children and families in need. It serves the United States and 10 other countries around the world and is the U.S.’s 25th largest charity. More info here.
Cookies for Kids Cancer raises money and awareness around pediatric cancer research. Though they accept direct donations, a big initiative here is to turn regular supporters into small time fundraisers through bake sales, office events, and parties. More info here.
ROC Action is a charity arm of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, a group working to improve wages and working conditions for restaurant workers across America. ROC Action advocates to raise the minimum wage and eliminate the tipped minimum wage through lobbying and ballot initiatives. More info here.
The National Immigration Forum is an immigration advocacy group focused on integrating immigrants into the workforce, fighting for their rights, and helping them on the path to citizenship. More info here.
Alex’s Lemonade Stand raises money for pediatric cancer research through grassroots lemonade stand fundraisers as well as direct donations and large-scale events. Like Cookies for Kids Cancer, here supporters can host their own small scale lemonade stands in their communities to raise money. More info here.
Editors’ Local Favorites:
Cafe Momentum provides culinary training and mentorship and support to at-risk youth who have spent time in juvenile facilities around Dallas. More info here.
Atlanta-based City of Refuge aims to transform and revitalize the city, in part through programs like 180° Kitchen, a 10-week culinary training that provides young adults with the skills they need to start a career in the restaurant or food services industry. More info here.
Wellness in the Schools focuses on getting healthy, nourishing meals into public school cafeterias around New York City. More info here.
New York’s Hot Bread Kitchen offers paid on-the-job baking training for women facing economic insecurity and offers an incubator program for budding entrepreneurs. More info here.
Martha’s Table provides healthy meals and educational programs to struggling children and families in the DC area. More info here.