As we approach the holiday season, millions of families nationwide will be hosting or attending Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners with a full table graced with a floral centerpiece – one that will soon wilt and be thrown away. Yet for millions of other families who rely on food pantries to help feed their family, a holiday is just another day struggling to get food on the table.
What if your beautiful centerpiece could help your neighbors in need? A simple solution is to replace the flowers with fresh fruit and vegetables. The AmpleHarvest.org “Centerpieces for Pantries” initiative helps people share what they’ve been thankful for with those who are not quite as lucky. Harvested from your garden or purchased from a farmers market or store, fresh food adds lots of color and character and fragrance to the table.
You can be as creative as you want with the arrangement or even have your kids contribute to the dinner by letting them create it using whole fruit and vegetables. It also might be a fun way to introduce your kids to “exotic” food such as kiwi, eggplant, and papaya.
We’ve got you covered with budget-friendly DIY step-by-step directions available from The Prudent Garden.
“There’s no right or wrong way to make an edible centerpiece. Use what you have or what’s in season. I chose fruits and veggies that are hearty and can hold up well out of the fridge or water. Fall and winter vegetables are perfect for an edible centerpiece because they are tough and will not wilt easily,” states Debbie Wolfe, of the Prudent Garden. “This is a wonderful way to give back to your community, as well as spread a little holiday cheer to those who could use a little help.”
Once dinner is over, visit AmpleHarvest.org/donate-food to find a food pantry in your neighborhood. They will be eager for the donation!
It’s important to remember that food pantries can only accept whole food. If the food is cut, carved or pierced with tooth picks, they will not be accepted by most food pantries.
Giving thanks for what we have should also invlove using what we have wisely, as well as showing concern for those who have less than us. Let the centerpiece grace your table one day and feed a family the next.
If you want to stick with flowers for your centerpiece, you can still help fresh food get to those who need it most by donating to AmpleHarvest.org.