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The 10 Best Do-Gooder Holiday Activities for Food Lovers

Chef Vincent Francoual is making it easy to do good this year.

Chef Vincent Francoual is making it easy to do good this year.

Food-loving compatriots: We must face the fact that we can be a gluttonous bunch. We love to have all of the things to ourselves -- fried egg sandwiches, foie gras torchon, chocolate bars, and kimchee potato chips.

But this time of year (as at all times of year) we need to remind ourselves how many Minnesotans are food insecure or otherwise less fortunate. Here's a bunch of food-centric stuff you can do to make someone else's holiday season a bit brighter.

See also: Best Charity Minneapolis 2013 - GiveMN

10. Click a button while eating lunch at your desk. Download the James Beard and Food Think Tank Good Food Guide, and support the people therein. The guide highlights nonprofit organizations that are doing exemplary work in the U.S. in the areas of food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice.

One example is the Minnesota Food Association, which does stuff like provide training to immigrant farmers and help them market directly to consumers through community supported agriculture (CSA) programs.

9. Make sure kids get lunch. Volunteer or Donate to No Kid Hungry. I think we can all agree that no child, anywhere, should go without food. But in America alone, one in five kids regularly struggles with hunger. NKH makes connections that put kids and programs together ensuring that they receive proper breakfasts and lunches. For every $10 you give, you can provide up to 100 meals for a kid facing hunger.

8. Eat a burrito. On December 16, all Minnesota Chipotle restaurants will donate 50 percent of the day's proceeds to the Toys for Tots Twin Cities. But there is a catch: You must mention the fundraiser when you order. Just don't forget to do so between the extra guac and the carnitas.

7. Eat $1,700 worth of white truffles. On December 17, Vincent a Restaurant will host a white truffle dinner benefiting Second Harvest Heartland, the upper Midwest's largest hunger relief organization. The four-course dinner created by chef Vincent will integrate a pound of white truffles, a delicacy that costs $1,700 per pound. Visit the website for the menu and reservations, but know that it involves cheese fondue with white truffle. $200 per seat, with $100 donated to Second Harvest Heartland.

6. Buy some cookies. Probably one of the coolest organizations in the Twin Cities is Cookie Cart Bakery, which for years has been training kids from disenfranchised circumstances through a bakery and leadership program. The dozen varieties of cookies (or choose an assortment) make excellent gifts at about $10 per dozen, and proceeds go directly back into the program.

5. Have some more cookies. Local food personality and charity maven Sue Zelickson has packaged her ingenious cookie recipe, Lacey Sue Z., the crisp-chewiest chocolate chip cookie in the world. Proceeds from the sale of the product go to Perspective, Inc., an organization that helps underprivileged kids by promoting healthy eating, food safety, nutrition, and culinary skills. Two-packs of the cookies retail for $20.

4. Feed dogs and cats. If you're hungry, they're hungry. It stands to reason if a pet owner is food insecure, then chances are so are their animals. A number of food shelves take donations of pet food for distribution to families and their pets. Make a donation at The Pet Project, a clearinghouse for local drop-off sites.

3. Buy a handmade bowl for your ice cream, your cereal, your soup... On Friday, December 12, head to East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and choose a handmade bowl for yourself or for a gift. Proceeds will go to provide healthy summer meals to youth in the Phillips neighborhood.

2. Get in the kitchen. Open Arms Minnesota provides meals to people with life-threatening illnesses and has a variety of individual and group volunteer opportunities from cooking to meal delivery to farm work. Sign up on their website.

1. Make a sandwich. The Sandwich Project asks generous folks like yourself to make sandwiches for the homeless. They've timed it: Six people can prepare 150 sandwiches in about 30 minutes. The total cost is approximately $100. If you're not a sandwich maker, you can volunteer to deliver to local homeless shelters.

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