What if your family didn’t know where your next meal was going to come from? It’s tough to imagine being faced with that kind of challenge, but for many American families-even families near us-it’s a reality.

Photo of food pantry volunteers by Flickr's WEBN-TVWhen we sat down to figure out how Goldfish could give back during the holiday season, this cause really hit home. That’s why we selected Feeding America as our charitable partner this winter.

Feeding America was established in 1979 as a hunger relief charity and a nationwide network of food banks with a sole purpose: to fight hunger in America. The numbers tell us why their work continues to be so vital today: according to the USDA, 15.9 million children were considered to be “food insecure” in 2012.

Food insecurity occurs when children live in households where they are unable to consistently access nutritious food. As parents know, nutritious food is critical for establishing a child’s future physical health and academic success. Can you imagine trying to focus in class or get through swim lessons with a rumbling stomach?

The holiday season is particularly tough on families living in poverty. With a tight budget, even paying the mortgage and keeping the heat on is a struggle. For this reason, family meals often come in second.

That’s where we come in. In partnership with Feeding America, we are dedicating the months of November and December to gathering non-perishable food items for local families in need.

When you hop into the car for your next lesson, don’t forget to grab some food to take with you. We’ll be collecting all donations and delivering them to local food pantries and soup kitchens.

Not sure what to bring? Here’s a list of what food banks are usually looking for at this time of year:

  • High-fiber cereals
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Boxed stuffing mix
  • Canned corn
  • Canned green beans
  • Canned pasta sauce
  • Boxed pasta
  • Canned cranberry sauce
  • Cake, brownie, or dessert mix
  • Cornbread or quick bread mix
  • Instant or canned gravy
  • Pie crust mix
  • Pumpkin pie filling
  • Canned fruit (packed in juice)

We couldn’t be more thrilled to give back to the cities and towns our Goldfish locations call home, and we hope you’ll join us in the effort to fight hunger this holiday season.

Photo credit: WEBN-TV