giving back

10 Bite-Size Ways Cooking can Make a Difference

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Gandhi once said: “Consciously or unconsciously, every one of us does render some service or other. If we cultivate the habit of doing this service deliberately, our desire for service will steadily grow stronger, and will make, not only our own happiness, but that of the world at large.” Little acts of service, done with intent and on a regular basis, can be the foundation of a happy, meaningful life. And if those acts of service incorporate one's own talents and hobbies, they can be that much more enjoyable.

If you're a foodie, then this week's Season of Service challenge is for you. I challenge you to make a difference by cooking. I suggested a few ways to help others by cooking last year. Let me add a few more simple ideas to that list:

10 Bite-Size Ways to Make a Difference by Cooking

  1. Cook some sweet treats for a neighbor or friend who has been helpful lately and deliver them with a little note of thanks.
  2. Donate $10 to Mrs. Griffin's high-school cooking and life skills class for students with severe learning disabilities through
  3. Learn how to cook with a solar oven so that you have a lower-energy alternative to use in case of emergency or just to save energy. Here are some great tips on and
  4. Cook a train menu breakfast, maybe dressed as a train engineer or chef, then look at the packages that the food originally came in to find where it was packaged and talk about how far your food had to travel to get to your table.
  5. Cook and serve vegetables with every meal this week. Here are some meal suggestions.
  6. Cook a dessert with eco-friendly chocolate. Here's a list of some of them, suggested at
  7. Donate a pot to your local homeless shelter, school's cafeteria, or hunger nonprofit.
  8. Donate a used or new cookbook to EcoEncore, which raises funds for environmental organizations in the Pacific Northwest through the online resale of books, CDs, DVDs, and software.
  9. Recruit five friends to help make main meals for a week for a friend who has just had a baby. Here are some tips.
  10. Bake some cookies to give to local firefighters.

How Will You Give to Others This Week?

  • Have you ever done any of these things? How did it go?
  • What other acts of service have inspired you?
  • How have others given to you this week and what difference has that made in your life?

How Else Can You Make a Difference This Season?

  • Commit to do one act of kindness/service based on the week’s challenge.
  • Leave a comment with ideas relating to the week’s challenge as well as your experience(s) performing it.
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