My fifteen year old neighbor dropped off a paper grocery bag on Wednesday. Stapled to the top was an index card, which read, and I paraphrase:
Fill this bag with canned food for the needy, set it out on your porch, and I'll pick it up on Saturday at 10am and drop it off at the food bank.
For the past two weeks I've been meaning to contribute to the food drive at my kids' school. And though frequent emails kept this to-do near the top of my list, every time I walked out the door, I forgot to bring the cans. There's no excuse for my lack of follow-through -- it's pathetic, really. Turns out I'm just the kind of person who responds best when things are made really, really easy.
And a paper bag left on my doorstep was really, really easy. So I filled it with cans, set it out, and my neighbor picked it up. Her tiny effort catapulted me into action, and someone hungry will eat as a result.
So it's in this vein that I offer you a very, very easy way to do good. You can do it right now, preferably, while I'm reminding you, or you can do it at any point during the month of December.
Here's what I've done: I've put a button in the right hand sidebar that links directly to Network for Good, a highly reputable online charity hub. I've chosen my local chapter of the Second Harvest Food Bank, a nonprofit that serves more than 200,000 hungry people in my community every month, as the beneficiary.
What I'm asking: Click on the button and give $5. That's it. $4.76 will go to Second Harvest Food Bank, and $.24 (4.75%) will go to Network for Good for their administrative and other costs. If you want all $5 to go to the food bank, up your donation to $5.24.
Why $5? Because it's easy, small, doable, and really shouldn't require much thought. You'll get a receipt from Network for Good, and your donation is fully tax-deductible. Here's more information.
Need a nudge? In the year and a half I've been writing this blog, I've struggled with whether or not to put up advertising. Other than my Amazon links, I've opted to keep this site clean, simple, and ad-free. No annoying flash buttons, no banners screaming for you to buy Pampers or Lucky Charms. I want this space to have a prevailing sense of calm, and I do believe it does.
So... In return, I'd be so grateful if you'd make a one-time $5 donation to support a cause that means a lot to me. You'll feel good, I swear.
Collectively, I bet we can raise a pretty decent sum. Best of all, we can all watch the numbers on the widget inch up throughout December.
Did I mention how handsome/beautiful you look today?
As a token of my appreciation, here's a nice hot bowl of soup for your troubles.
I made it just for you.
p.s. If you're a blogger, I encourage you to add a Network for Good widget to your own site to spread this effort to your own readership. You can customize the widget for your blog and sponsor a charity of your choice.
p.p.s. While not necessary, feel free to email me or leave a comment if you've donated and I'd be happy to acknowledge your generosity (by first name or blog name) in a future post.
Recipe for Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
If you're wondering why I'm putting up another slow cooker soup recipe, it's because I'm completely enamored with the lack of effort required to get a pot of hot, healthy goodness on my table. Plus, soup makes me think of food drives, and food drives make me think of charitable giving, and that's what this post is all about.
Makes 8 servings
1 pound dried black beans, soaked overnight
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans (28 ounces total) low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, or homemade stock
12 ounces prepared salsa (I used one jar of Trader Joe's green salsa)
1-1/4 cups cold water
1 teaspoon chili powder
Sour cream and lime, for serving, if desired
After soaking the beans, drain and rinse them under cool running water. Place them in the slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients (except the sour cream and lime).
Set the slow cooker to low and cook for about 9 hours. Unplug cooker and remove the insert.
Puree the contents with a stick blender, or, using caution, transfer to a traditional blender and puree. Soup will thicken as it cools.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and lime wedges, if desired.