February Giveaway: Food for Thought


Food DriveI’ve got a refrigerator, freezer and pantry full of food, yet I still find myself running out to the grocery store to get a few ingredients to get dinner on the table. That often makes me feel a little guilty. I consider it a mark of a great cook when only the items on hand are used to create a healthy, tasty and filling meal, so I feel like I’m taking the easy way out when I run to the store. But, I’m also taking the privileged way.

My friends, Julie and Mo, work at United Way of King County and we have discussed the challenges of homelessness and hunger right here in our town. One night, a group of us had a lengthy discussion about how tough it would be to feed a family of four on as little as $7 per person per day. That lively, emotional debate has stuck with me for a few years now. It was a real eye-opener and caused me to evaluate my own lifestyle.

Not having enough to eat is a reality for more and more families in these tough economic times. According to the United Way of King County website, “Since 2008, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of people going to food banks. Some providers have reported a 30 percent increase in clients.” The food pantries, community gardens and summer meal programs for kids are a lifeline for so many families.

That’s why Mary and I are supporting United Way of King County’s Third Annual Top Chef & Exec Event coming up on February 28, 2013.

We’ll be joining emcee Tom Douglas in cheering on four local celebrity cheftestants as they chop and sauté with four pros from Tom Douglas Restaurants. The catch? They must create the best dish using items typically found at food banks. With guests voting via donations to their chef team of choice, each chef duo is competing to whip up top dishes and round up top dollars. Proceeds benefit programs and services—food pantries, community gardens, summer meal programs for kids and more—that help our community’s most vulnerable people meet their basic needs.

Can’t attend the event but still want to participate? You can “Give a Chef a Boost!” by clicking here then make a donation to the your favorite cheftestant. We’ll be Tweeting, Facebooking and Posting live from the event, so stay tuned!

And, in honor of the Top Chef & Exec event, we’re changing up our Monthly Giveaway. Instead of offering a prize to A Passionate Plate reader, we’ll be making a donation of food to the West Seattle Food Bank.

We’d love it if you’d make a donation to your local food bank, too.

Food banks appreciate receiving nutritious, shelf-stable and non-perishable food items. Some that we recommend:

  • Canned Vegetables
  • Canned Fruit (in juice)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Whole Grain / High Fiber Cereal
  • Oatmeal / Cream of Wheat
  • Whole Grain Crackers
  • Boxed Shelf Stable Milk / Evaporated Milk
  • Shelf Stable Fruit Packs
  • Whole Grain Rice
  • Dried Fruit
  • Canned Tuna
  • Canned Chicken
  • Canned Soup
  • Canned Chili / Stew
  • Canned Beans
  • All Types of Pasta
  • Canned Pasta Sauce

Please feel free to respond to this post with your local food bank’s contact information, and your own donation suggestions.


  1. Julie says:

    I love this!! Thanks for driving awareness and for your donation. I live in North Bend and here is the site for our local food bank. http://mtsifoodbank.org/ I love to donate baking items like flour and sugar as I like to think those are going to special treats that these people might not often get to make or have. And this year via our school we have also donated things like cereal and gingerbread house kits. Not the healthiest options but again hopefully giving an experience that otherwise wouldn’t be possible or giving the kids a chance to have something that a lot of other kids take for granted.

  2. Helen says:

    The COVE Community Food Bank in Twisp, WA serves the entire Methow Valley. They do a fantastic job and accept donations of just about anything.

  3. Marie McFadden says:

    That is a truly passionate give away! I support our local United Way here in York County, SC and am on the board and allocation committee. There is a lot of need everywhere! I am guilty of running to the store rather than cleaning out the freezer or pantry, just because it is the easier thing to do… I am now working my way through the freezer, supplementing with the pantry and have come up with some balanced and healthy meals… but it takes time and thought. My hat off to you gals!!

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