Fasting for a Cause this Holiday Season

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A volunteer organizes donations at Inner City Development’s emergency food pantry. Photo courtesy of Inner City Development.

In a few days, I’ll be starving. So will some of my friends.

We do it by choice. We do it so others that are hungry will be able to eat.

We are about to begin our annual fast for Inner City Development’s emergency food pantry. Each volunteer has pledged to eat nothing but bread and water until he or she raises $1,000 for Inner City Development.

This time of year is terrific for many reasons. The weather finally begins to cool down, and the Spurs are playing again. Now that we’re in November, you’ll start to see some of the annual charitable giving campaigns kicking off. You probably have a can drive going on at work. Some guys you know might be trying to grow a mustache for #movember. You may even adopt a family through your church. Around this time, people are more focused on being thankful and giving back.

One thing Inner City Development has noticed is that we never have a problem stocking the pantry this time of year. People begin to get in the holiday spirit and donations come rolling in. It’s fantastic.

Inner City Development's emergency food pantry. Photo courtesy of Inner City Development.

Inner City Development’s emergency food pantry. Photo courtesy of Inner City Development.

Other times during the year, it’s much harder. The donations stop coming, but the need doesn’t. So, what we try to do is raise enough money now, during the giving season, to fund the emergency food pantry for the next twelve months. And that is how Thanksgiving 365 was born. We like to say that “hunger is not a Thanksgiving issue, it’s an issue 365 days a year.”

I’ve been fasting for Inner City Development for the last 10 years, and I look forward to it every year. It’s a very small sacrifice that makes a huge difference. I’ll probably have to miss a couple days’ worth of meals. For those few days, food is on my mind constantly. But I know that once I’ve met my goal, I’ll be able to eat whatever I want. It’s a reminder of how fortunate I am, and it’s a tiny glimpse into what it might feel like to face food insecurity.

Food insecurity is a real issue in San Antonio. Each week, approximately 58,000 people receive emergency food assistance from an agency in the San Antonio Food Bank network. Check out this info from the San Antonio Food Bank for some more sobering statistics about hunger in our own backyard.

Speaking of the Food Bank, when I talk to people about Thanksgiving 365, I usually get this question, “I give to the Food Bank, doesn’t that take care of it?

"Thanksgiving 365" volunteers gather for a group photo, courtesy of Inner City Development.

“Thanksgiving 365” volunteers gather for a group photo, courtesy of Inner City Development.

Well, yes and no. The San Antonio Food Bank is an incredible organization, and Inner City Development couldn’t do what they do without their support. But the need far outstrips the supply. Right now, Inner City can only meet about 40% of its need with items available from the Food Bank. Even the items that come from The Food Bank have some cost. We need additional support from the community.

In the past year, Inner City has served over 53,000 meals to families in crisis. That was possible because an amazing group of people sacrificed a few meals last year. Come help us do it again.

We need to raise a minimum of $40,000 to stock Inner City Development’s emergency food pantry for the next year. We have about 12 amazing, dedicated volunteers committed this year, but we could definitely use some more help. We are seeking at least 10 more volunteers this season to take the fasting campaign pledge. If you are interested, here’s what you can do:

  1. Commit to joining us in the fast, either individually or as a group, until you are able to raise $1,000. We start on Wednesday, Nov. 4. We will have a small press conference at Inner City at 10 a.m. From that point, each faster will consume bread and water until he or she raises $1,000.
  2. Donate to the cause. To donate to Inner City Development’s Thanksgiving 365, visit the fundraising page at razoo.com.

I do this every year because it is a simple way to help a great organization address a critical need in our community. But it helps me as well. After a few days of fasting, I am filled with gratitude and a real appreciation of how hard it would be for families that don’t where their next meal is coming from. It’s amazing how aware of food you become after skipping just a few meals. Nobody in this country should ever go hungry. This fundraiser allows me to do something to rectify that. I know there are some more folks out there in San Antonio that would enjoy fasting, too, if they gave it a shot.

To sign up to fast, or for more information, contact me at (210) 912-0176 or at ryan.haug@rackspace.com.

 

*Top image: A volunteer organizes donations at Inner City Development’s emergency food pantry. Photo courtesy of Inner City Development. 

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Thanksgiving 365: Fasting for Families in Need

The Fast and the Furious(ly Fasting) 

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