Feeding the Hungry with Barefeet In The Kitchen


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Feeding the Hungry with Barefeet In The KitchenBarefeet In The Kitchen will be donating $1 to Feeding America for every comment that is made on this blog post. In addition to that, on December 30th, we will be matching all donations that have been made to Feeding America through the link below, up to $2500.

If you’ve known me for long, you may recall that over the past few years, we’ve talked a lot about different ways to feed the hungry. Having grown up without an overabundance of food in the house, having a pantry full of groceries and a fridge full of fresh ingredients is something that I will never take for granted. I remember watching my mother cry over a gift of groceries and I remember countless meals of beans and rice. Though I grew up without an abundance of material things, I was richly blessed and I never went to bed hungry.

One of my favorite Christmas stories is from my mom. If you are fortunate enough to know her, you know what it’s like to see Christ’s love in action. Her perspective on everything is a reminder that we are truly blessed in the big and the little things. My mother would give you the shoes off her feet if you needed them. She recently shared this Christmas memory from years ago and I’m sharing it here with her permission:

“Our church was collecting canned goods in a box for a “poor family”. Every week I looked to see if anyone had put in a can of cranberry sauce. You see, the Lord had been nudging me to share my can of cranberry sauce. Big deal, you say? It was a very big deal because money was so tight that if I took my cranberry sauce to the church I would not be able to buy any more. Finally, I obeyed that gentle nudging on the last Sunday before Christmas. We still had cranberry sauce for Christmas because on the day before Christmas they delivered the whole box to us! I think God must have chuckled over my foolishness.”

Whether it’s sack lunches for the homeless, or donations in the grocery store, food drives, or wherever you find a need locally and try to help, there is no wrong way to help.

Keep these sack lunches in your car and hand then out to the homeless. It's an easy way to help the hungry.

Once again, as the end of the year approaches, I’d love to get as much food as possible into the homes of those who need it. Every dollar you give through our Virtual Food Drive helps provide 11 meals for people in need. We can work together to make a HUGE impact in many lives this holiday season.

Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, they provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America.

How many families can we feed if we work together to donate what we can? Please consider joining Barefeet In The Kitchen and helping feed the hungry this holiday season.

Earlier this year, I flew to Ohio for a visit to a dairy farm with American Dairy Association Mideast. We toured the farm, oohed and aahed over the newborn calves, and I was even lucky enough to be there in time to feed one myself.

Feeding dairy cows

While in Ohio, I learned about The Great American Milk Drive. Milk is a nutrient powerhouse with 8 grams of natural, high-quality protein and eight other essential nutrients in every 8-ounce glass. Nutritionists recommend that each person drink three servings of milk per day. But on average, Feeding America food banks only have enough supply to provide one gallon of milk…per person…per year.

Fresh milk is one of the items people request the most and it’s also one of the least donated items. Through Milk Life and Feeding America you can donate funds directly towards milk that will be provided at the local food banks.

I researched a great many charities before deciding to support Feeding America. Feeding America spends 94.13% of their budget directly on food distribution endeavors. You can examine their ranking among other charities here.

Please consider joining Barefeet In The Kitchen and helping feed the hungry this holiday season.

Donate to Feeding America HERE

Leave a comment sharing your favorite Christmas memory. (Reading your stories is one of my favorite things to do each Christmas!) Barefeet In The Kitchen will donate $1 for each comment on this blog post and we will also be matching all donations made to Feeding America up to $2500.

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Lisa says

    Every year growing up, we would spend Christmas Eve with my grandparents and cousins on my dad’s side. After we opened gifts, we would chow down on goodies. There were always cordial cherries, a box of chocolates, cookies of all types, nuts, and Grandma’s punch. Those are my favorite memories! The last year we all managed to be together before us kids started drifting off to college, my grandmother was developing Alzheimer’s but we didn’t know it yet. When she made her punch, we suspect she kept forgetting that she had added the sugar already – because that punch was at least 4 times sweeter than it should have been, and even had sugar on the bottom that didn’t dissolve into the punch! We all politely drank it, of course, but we still all laugh about that all these years later. 🙂

  2. Bev Glidden says

    My favorite memory of Christmas is the time spent with mom and sister decorating the house and the tree. We would listen to Christmas music and mom would then start baking Christmas cookies.

  3. Lisa Swain says

    Sorry I missed you while you were in Ohio. I would have invited you to sample some of my cooking. 🙂
    This is an amazing thing that you are doing and is truly inspirational! Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

  4. MamaS says

    My favorite Christmas memories are always when my family would gather together and watch Christmas movies while enjoying treats and playing games afterwards, we would stay up late talking and playing. They were very carefree days!

  5. Alice E says

    My favorite Christmas memories are of participating in the Christmas Eve prayer vigil at church as a teenager and of making and decorating cookies with my Mom.

    Bless you and your efforts to help feed people. I always try to support our local food banks and charities.

  6. Tracy says

    My favorite Christmas memory is falling asleep at night dreaming about what might appear under the tree the next morning. I want to create that same magic for my own kids now. I know that Christmas is about so much more than the gifts, but the memory of that “magic” is pretty special too!

  7. Janet McGinnis says

    We bought our daughter, Hannah, a Little Mermaid bike for Christmas. Her Uncle Miles and Dad worked hard getting it put together (training wheels and all). It was parked right in front of the tree for her delight Christmas morning. Being the only child, she never woke up early, for which we were grateful. However, we were all up waiting for the squeal of delight. When she finally awoke, thanks to a little extra noise in the hall by her zealous uncle, she stumbled into the room. She looked right through the bike like it wasn’t even there!! We finally asked her where she wanted to start, as her Uncle is standing next to the bike…it finally all clicked in her head and a happy child appeared adequately surprised. We’ve teased her for years about it. It was a great Christmas. I loved having her Uncle Miles live with us. He helped bring joy to the season too with his enthusiasm!!

  8. Holly N @ Spend With Pennies says

    I love the cranberry sauce story Mary, thank you for sharing. <3

    This is definitely a wonderful cause and it's amazing to see how far just $1 can stretch! I do love that in addition to non perishables, the money donated can also be used to provide fresh items such as milk.

  9. Sonja says

    picking a favorite Christmas memory is hard for two reasons: 1) it’s hard because I love Christmas1 I love that Jesus humbled Himself to come and be born a baby for us. I love giving presents to people, And I love all the decorations and snow (not that we get any here in the PNW!)!! 2) it’s hard because my mom died right before Christmas when I was 10. So there’s always a bittersweetness to any memory.
    One memory that stands out is a Christmas when the boys were little. They LOVED trains. Jeff and I wanted to get them a really cool train table, so they could build and store their stuff. It was too much for our limited budget at the time. We didn’t really have any Christmas presents for the boys that year, because we were so broke. God had a plan, though! My parents sent us money – much more than they usually sent – and Jeff’s mom decided to give us money instead of buying the two of us presents that year. The money that came in was just what we needed!! I seem to recall that the table ended up being on sale, so we even had a little left over for stocking stuffers!! I love to see how God provides, even for seemingly silly things like Christmas presents!

  10. Patty says

    I too remember waiting in line with my mom for a full box of food during the holidays. I never take it for granted and try to help those I can with food or clothes

  11. Molly Hoover says

    I have so many great holiday memories, all of which include spending it with my Dad and Aunt in the kitchen. What you are doing is just incredible. Restoring faith in humanity.

  12. Joy says

    We depended on commodities from the government when I was young. The rich landlord would (generously) donate a chicken (family of 6). Our CHRISTmas tree was a large, medium and a small tumbleweed with the construction paper ringers we made in school for decorations. And yet my mother was somehow able to make it stretch to not only feed us but 2 unfortunate individuals. After which she managed to boil the carcass to make us soup. This continued until My sister and I were put into foster care. My husband and I have always given back. I encourage everyone to share by donating. It makes a incredible difference for those in need.

  13. Jo Ann says

    Christmas is so much more than material gifts. Gifts from the heart and soul are much more meaningful. Thank you for feeding America! Everyone can do something!

  14. Sarah says

    One of my favorite Christmas’s was when I got my little dachshund puppy at age 6. She was in a giant box when I walked into the living room, and the box was bouncing all over the place! I knew in a second my wish had come true! Holly was our family member until I was 19. She was a wonderful little girl❤

  15. Theresa Diulus says

    My favorite Christmas memory as a kid is the last Christmas both of my grandparents were alive and we were at their house. I can remember the layout of the house, where gifts were hidden :), waking up Christmas morning and seeing even more gifts under the tree along with candy kisses hanging on the tree (pure delight to my way of thinking!) it’s been more than 40 years since that time and I can still feel the memory so vividly.

  16. Maggie Yoder says

    I love this blog and use your recipes all the time.. Feeding America is such an appropriate choice for a charity from here. Thanks for suggesting it! Merry Christmas!

  17. Michelle says

    Good Morning and Merry Christmas.I Thank you for doing a wonderful job. in feeding the neady.We had soup and sandwich and gave out non personable food at our church. Please keep up the great work.

  18. Sharon Carson says

    Mary, this is such a wonderful idea! Thank you for reminding us of just how blessed we are! My favorite Christmas memory was when I was a new Girl Scout back in the late ’70’s, and my troop decided to fill Christmas stockings for those in need in the community. The stockings included soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrush/toothpaste, pens, mini-notebooks, and any other trinkets the girls wished to ad-lib with. I added some colorful barley-sugar wrapped hard candies, and developed a fondness for those treats myself, in the process! I had such a blast shopping at a little five-and-dime store in my town, and filling those stockings. My little 8-year-old mind was totally blown when the cashier opted not to charge me tax on the items once she learned what my troop was doing with them. I was like, “Whoa! No tax!”. Such a little thing, but to my young mind, it was a big deal, because this shopkeeper was helping out my troop i our endeavor. Thank you for the opportunity to get involved in something so necessary, and for giving me the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus! Merry Christmas to you and your family !

  19. Diane Harrish says

    Bless you Mary, hope you have a Blessed Christmas and the Happiest New Year. Thank you for this wonderful site, and for helping the families in need, If everyone that can help does, we could stop hunger.

  20. Debbie R. says

    My very favorite Christmas memory was waiting for my husband to get home from bootcamp. We were only married less than one month when he had to leave to join either the Army or Navy. This was 1971 and his draft number was 6 so we decided together that he would join the Navy because of having a better chance of returning since he wouldn’t be in the jungles of Vietnam.
    I remember sitting next to the Christmas tree and watching out the window, with great anticipation, for him to be dropped off from the airport. This would be the first time that I would see him for about two months and I was overcome with emotion when that car pulled up and I watched him come to the front door. He had lost about 40 pounds and was the most handsome man I had ever seen. Needless to say, that Christmas was my favorite of my 63 years. ❤️

  21. Hana says

    Thank you for helping give milk to those in need this holiday season through the Great American Milk Drive, Mary! Great cause that truly will help those who need it most. We loved having you in Ohio- thank you for taking the time to come.

  22. Kristen says

    I love that you are doing this as feeding the hungry and taking care of the homeless and less fortunate is a cause so close to my heart. Thank you! (And I love the story about your mom).

  23. Tara says

    My favorite Christmas memory is the breakfast my mom would make. She would make thin pancakes wrapped around cream cheese and covered in strawberry sauce. Super simple but we only had it Christmas morning, maybe that’s why it seemed so special.

  24. Rose says

    I love this and I feel blessed that I can help Feeding America!
    One of my very favorite Christmas memories, is the year we were struggling financially and didn’t have much to give. We opened up the door Christmas morning and my sister and her husband had left a mound of gifts for our family. I will never forget How loved I felt.

  25. cheryl says

    My Dad’s birthday was December 24th so this time of the year was always so very special to him, he always lived by the motto “in a world where you can be anything be kind” my Dad would do anything for anyone and he spent not only during the holiday season but all through the year volunteering his time at Lutheran Social Services, bringing food from our church or delivering food in his big old station wagon. Our family did not have much but as he would always say “we have more than enough.” My Dad has now passed away but the integrity and character values he taught us are being still carried out not only by his children but his grandchildren as well. I always believe you keep a persons memory alive by telling their story, thank you for allowing me to share a precious memory of my Dad. Thank you for supporting Feeding America, our family supports not only them but the other food banks in our community. In this country no one should have to go hungry

  26. joan says

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas and all the sharing you do. Great ideas, good information and awareness of others….thanks.

  27. AMANDA says

    I have a lot of great memories, but I am sure starting this year, all of my future ones will be the best! I have a daughter who will be having her first Christmas this year, and I can’t wait to share the love and magic of Christmas with her during the holiday season and every other day of the year!!

  28. Joyce says

    Merry Christmas and God Bless you for helping. I see the homeless and hungry everyday and it seems like there are more people struggling than resources to help these days.

  29. Connie Janke says

    Mary, we are glad to support you in this effort. Our own community food bank serves over 300 families a week and we are thankful for the opportunity to share our time and treasure with this important local resource.

  30. Beverly says

    Oh, thank you. This is such a good idea. So many hungry people in this scary time.
    That is shocking about the lack of milk. Some years ago dairy farms were dumping milk.
    Good Luck! Hope many of us comment. I never have 🙂
    Give your mother a big hug.
    Happy Holidays!

  31. SammieL says

    My Favorite Christmas memory would have to be when we’re young… would be decorating our tree… and watching Babes in Toyland. Still carry the tradition now but with Watching the Grinch

  32. Kate says

    My favorite memory of Christmas is when my sisters and I would crowd into one bed on Christmas Eve. My grandma would have their bed and we would all be up at the crack of dawn Christmas morning!

  33. Christy says

    My favorite memories are going to the late, late service at church where we exited in silence, which was so powerful. Then we delivered Santa gifts that we’d been hiding for our nieces and nephews.

  34. Toni says

    Mary, I enjoy your blog and love the recipes I have made. I cringe when I have to throw food away because of spoilage knowing I just wasted food and that there are many who go to bed hungry. I am donating to Feeding America upon your suggestion, thanks!

  35. Michelle Osburn says

    Thank you for reminding us of the importance of love and charity. May God continue to Bless You and your family in the New Year. Merry Christmas!

  36. Sharon says

    Good for you! Our second graders had a food drive for our local food pantry and in our small school raised over 1500 pieces of food in a few days.

  37. Elizabeth Denholm says

    Although we always have a lovely Christmas it’s been 20 years since we have had a youngster in the family. That’s going to change this year as we welcomed my great-niece Ava into the family in October. My mum is 86 and suffers from dementia & Parkinson’s disease. She’s declining quite rapidly now so we are all so looking forward to Christmas Day when we will have 4 generations together. My mum, my sister, my niece & my great-niece. Wishing you & yours a very Happy Christmas from the Denholm family, Glasgow, Scotland. God Bless

  38. Tahishia Clinkscale says

    Opening up gifts on Christmas is a blessing that sometime kids take for granted. So every year my children adopt a kid of their own to be a blessing to. So my five adopt five kids, through the homeless shelter, word of mouth about a family that’s on hard times, or social media showcasing a story. It warms my heart to see the expression on my child’s face as they witness a blessing unfold right in their face. To watch these kids unwrap gifts that they probably would not have had to unwrap, is truly a blessing. This is their fourth year and it is just amazing to see that sparkle in their eyes as they’re giving out blessings. December is not the only month to do this, ALL YEAR LONG is best. That is why we have started our mailbox ministry distributing out GOD’s grace and mercy to those whom GOD have spoken

  39. Angela Cunningham says

    I am so thankful to God for all the blessings I have received this Christmas, thank you for all that you are doing to help the hungry, and for all your wonderful inspiring recipes, may you and yours be blessed now and always xx

  40. Mark Donnelly says

    I made your White Chocolate Carmel Fudge for a Christmas Party at work and all of my friends loved it, some of them asked me if there was any leftovers 🙂 This recipie couldn’t be easier, and it was such an unexpectedly huge hit, thank you.

  41. Belinda says

    I love seeing the change people try to make everyday. So thoughtful to donate per comment left. You are to be truly blessed

  42. Patsy Adams says

    This reads like a very worthy undertaking. After I get a grip on my husband’s health problem, I will know better if we can help with money. I know we are unable to help with our time.

  43. Colleen Bennett says

    My Christmas memories are that we never put the tree up until the 23rd or 24th because Santo would decorate it and bring the gifts. Those gifts from Santan were never wrapped they were just put under the tree just like they are in his bag on the sleigh. So the wrapped gifts were gifts that were given between family members. I was always surprised when I came down the stairs in the morning and seen my doll babies and baby buggy and other toys under the tree because I knew he had been there and would quickly run to see if he ate the milk and cookies.

  44. Amber Bracegirdle says

    My favorite Christmas memory is also my favorite Thanksgiving memory. For every holiday, my grandparents would adopt servicemen and women in basic training from our local army base. Kids that couldn’t get home for the holiday, and would otherwise be sitting in the barracks. We met so many lovely young people over the years, and it left such an impression on me at an early age. Due to security, we can’t do this now, as none of us are active or retired service members. But I find other ways to “adopt” people throughout the holidays, thanks to the example my grandparents set early on.

  45. Michele says

    I have many wonderful Christmas memories. I’m blessed beyond words that I have a wonderful family. God bless you for all that you do

  46. Patricia Graf says

    My favorite memories of Christmas is my family all getting together and having a turkey with stuffing that was a recipe of German & Swedish cooking combined. We would also have Swedish meatballs, Swedish brown beans, potato sausage, rice pudding with raisins and a single almond. My grandmother & mother would make Spritz cookies & Pepparkakor as well as Cardamom raisin coffee cake.
    After I got married we carried on with the Swedish tradition of Jul Ham and Swedish meatballs, Swedish brown beans, potato sausage, rice pudding with raisins and a single almond. Plus the Spritz, Pepparkakor & Cardamom raisin coffee cake.

  47. Nancy Raburn says

    I myself try to go to the Feeding America @ the Plant City United Food Way every once a month to help feed me & my boyfriend since we only receive $15 a month in Food Stamps. I’m very thankful for the food that we receive from Feeding America. And thanks to your site to help people in need. God bless you. Happy New Year.

  48. Btenda says

    My favorite memory would be all of us in the living room elbow to Elbow having a lot of laughing and talking and being together with my father sitting in his chair and the fireplace going.

  49. John Kauffold says

    God bless you for feeding the hungry! I made several of your fudge recipes over the holidays and they were a big hit. Love reading your newsletters. Keep up the good works and may the Lord bless you in the New Year!

  50. Linda says

    Good Moooorning Sweet Girl! Thanks to you and to Barefeet in the Kitchen for all you do to give us delicious milk and foods and for helping those less fortunate. ❤️

  51. S says

    My mom always saved the candy canes from the Christmas tree in the freezer and made peppermint ice cream in the summer. I don’t read many posts but look forward to yours.

  52. Sharon says

    Love your blog, love your recipes and REALLY love that you’re donating to Feeding America. I donate to them on a monthly basis for a couple of reasons. First, they do a magnificent job in utilizing their donations. Did you know that 98% (or maybe 99%) of their donations go directly to helping people and NOT executive or administrative costs? I look forward to continued great recipes and information from your blog. Happy New Year!

  53. Joan says

    Thank you for all your lovely recipes, which I have tried many. Forgot to say and loved.

    Have a happy and wonderful new year.

    lots of love,

  54. Pat Clark says

    What a terrific program and one so desperately needed.

    Re: your weekly Little Things Newsletter, I liked the format of “meal plan” where I clicked and scrolled through the week’s worth of recipes rather then seeing a name and then clicking on it.

    Thanks for all you do!

  55. Melissa Malcolm- Cullison says

    My husband and I are newlyweds! We have spent 4 Christmas’s together, but this one was extra special since it’s our 1st official one as a married couple. Every Christmas eve, I spend the entire day baking hundreds of cookies. It is exhausting, but I know how much my family enjoys each different one. My husband always enjoys helping me decorate the cookies with chocolate and sprinkles ( it is the only job I trust him with, baking is not his forte. LOL). We dance around the kitchen to Christmas music, drink homemade hot chocolate with marshmallow fluff and glitz up our cookies. This year, he insisted on sprinkling on the Jimmies with a spoon. While he was pouring them into a small bowl, he accidentally flipped the bowl and a whole bottle of Jimmies went flying all over the kitchen. Can you see my face right now? We both burst into laughter and he ran to get one of our new wedding gifts, the hand vacuum to sweep everything up. We finally finished our decorating and went upstairs with a plate full of cookies to watch “White Christmas”…. it was both of our first time watching it!