Holidays and celebrations usually revolve around some type of food or meal shared with friends, family and loved ones. I have many fond memories of sharing special meals and holiday traditions with my family. One particular tradition that I enjoyed being a part of was the blessing of the Easter baskets on Holy Saturday. Families would bring their traditional Easter foods in baskets and line the aisles with them to be blessed by the priest. Our family has Polish and Slovak roots, so our basket contained: Pascha bread, kielbasa, ham, bacon, red beets with horse radish, hard boiled eggs, salt and of course a little butter lamb – each item having traditional significance in connection to the celebration of Easter. The delicious smell in the church from everyone’s homemade food is still something I can easily remember! The blessing of the baskets was a celebration of food and community – a time of rejoicing after fasting during Lent. (I gave up food waste for Lent this year. Read more about that here).
I’m sure when you think back on times you’ve gathered with others during holidays or events, you can easily recall a special meal you shared. Food has a way of uniting us. Yet, according to Feeding America, 49.1 million Americans live in food insecure homes, including 16 million children. For many reasons, these families are unsure of where their next meal will come from.
So as you prepare to gather with your friends and family to celebrate Easter, please remember that some folks aren’t blessed with a basket full of food this holiday. If you find yourself with an abundance of unopened food or extra vegetables that will you will be unable to use, please find a food pantry near you and help your neighbors in need. Or you can make a beautiful centerpiece for your table–maybe a basket of fresh fruits and vegetables–that you can then donate to your local food pantry after you’ve enjoyed it during your Easter meal. It will bless two tables, and help feel hungry families in your community. Read more about our Centerpieces for Food Pantries campaign here. Happy Easter!