As with politics, the real impact of charitable giving can be seen best at the local level. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Give Miami Day, which began in 2012 and raised $1.2 million that year, has ballooned into a community-wide sprint that this year will include nearly 700 organizations and hopes to surpass last year's record amount of $9.1 million.
From midnight today through midnight Friday, people can log on to the Give Miami Day website to donate to a number of local charities. The organizing Miami Foundation, the Knight Foundation, and others will match some donations between $25 and $10,000. Participating nonprofits include those in varied categories such as environment and public spaces, housing and affordability, and crime prevention and legal services. If you pay attention to local news, it shouldn't be difficult to open your wallet to any of these causes.
Of course, there's no shortage of agricultural, nutritional, and culinary organizations that you can also support. Below, find links to each organization's donation page, along with a brief description. Don't be cheap. Avid eaters are known to take vacations where a single day can include more than six meals. So skip that third lunch — it's for a good cause.
American Veteran Food Assistance Program. It's easy to declare your support and adulation for U.S. military veterans on Facebook. Here's a chance to actually do something. American Veteran Food Assistance Program's mission is to distribute food and information to homeless and disabled veterans and to anyone facing food-insecurity issues in our community. The program slows the process of poverty, homelessness, and hunger by networking with clients (accessing their needs) and other local service providers.
Common Threads. Founded by Art Smith — the "Friar of Fried Chicken" and Oprah's former private chef — Common Threads partners with schools to provide cooking classes and nutritional education to combat the rising number of diet-related diseases while cultivating a culture that embraces a healthier lifestyle and celebrates diversity through food. Miami chef Michelle Bernstein is involved; you should be too.
EatWell Exchange. EatWell provides nutrition education, with a focus on culture, to low socioeconomic communities. It hosts presentations at schools, community centers, and various events and works with community leaders to provide the education residents need to make better choices using the foods unique to their culture.
Farm Share. Farm Share's mission is to alleviate hunger and malnutrition by recovering otherwise wasted food and distributing it to those who need it most. The approach resolves two imminent social issues facing Florida: hunger and food waste. The organization's mission came from recognizing that although there is enough food produced in Florida to feed all of its residents, many go hungry because good food is prematurely sent to landfills.
Farmworker Association of Florida. Florida is lauded for its vast swaths of farmland and its reversed seasons that keep us in greens in December. The mission of the Farmworker Association of Florida is to build power among farmworker and rural, low-income communities to respond to and gain control over the social, political, economic, workplace, health, and environmental justice issues affecting their lives.
Feeding South Florida. Feeding South Florida's mission is to end hunger in the region by providing immediate access to nutritious food, leading hunger and poverty advocacy efforts, and transforming lives through programming and education.
Flipany. This organization educates and empowers youth and adults through nutrition and physical activity programs while trying to influence policy changes for healthier communities. Chronic diseases and conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. According to the Florida Department of Health in 2007, the most recent year of data available, 23.5% of adults in Miami-Dade were diagnosed with hypertension, 36.9% were diagnosed with high blood cholesterol, and 65% were diagnosed as either overweight or obese.
Health in the Hood. Health in the Hood builds and maintains community gardens in disadvantaged neighborhoods throughout Miami to provide fresh vegetables for residents, along with nutrition and fitness workshops for families. These communities have little or no access to fresh fruits and vegetables, health education, or exercise programs. The goal is to put children on the path to healthy futures, give parents valuable information, and create environments that make healthy choices fun and easy.
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Helping Hands Food Ko-Op. The co-op, also known as Miami Kosher Ko-Op, empowers families by allowing them to obtain kosher, nutritious food at a low cost in a dignified manner that recognizes the human need to be self-sufficient.
Slow Food Miami. Slow Food Miami supports good, clean, fair food for children and communities through sustainable practices in edible school gardens and organizes educational and culinary events to connect the community with foods that are seasonal, local, and sustainably sourced. By acting locally, Slow Food works to help build a community where food is good for consumers, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet. Slow Food Miami is the local chapter of Slow Food USA and the International Slow Food Association.
Stop Hunger Inc. This organization has been working to feed communities' poor, needy, and homeless people since 1989.
Urban GreenWorks. The nonprofit provides environmental projects and food-security programs to underserved urban communities throughout South Florida. Working with high-school youth, at-risk young adults, prison inmates, the elderly, college students, and children from pre-K to middle school, UGW builds urban farms, designs and plants native trees in neglected city spaces, works to increase urban canopy cover, develops educational curriculum material and school gardens, and makes affordable, fresh food available in inner-city neighborhoods through farmers' markets.
Urban Oasis Project. This group specializes in providing good, clean, and healthy food to all by experimenting with gardening and farming philosophies that do not harm the environment.