Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of connecting with The Chester County Food Bank’s Program Director, Phoebe Kitson, on my “The Brilliant Frugal Living Show” on News/Talk 1180AM. I knew from past experience that any conversation with The CCFB would be informative and entertaining (and it was), but this interview unintentionally became one of the biggest heartstring-tugging chats of all time, leading to loads of email feedback from listeners, and giving me some new thoughts on gift-giving in general.

One of the most touching segments of the interview was Phoebe’s description of an anonymous Middle School student in our area, who broke down in his School Counselor’s office because he wasn’t sure if his house was still going to be there when he got home (at imminent risk of foreclosure), much less if there would be food on the table for dinner that evening. Thanks to The CCFB, his family, and hundreds of others like it, were able to create a Thanksgiving dinner that otherwise would have been impossible. With new studies confirming a staggering number of children (1 in 4) now run the risk of going to bed hungry, this was a story that really hit home.

During the interview, emails and texts started pouring in: “How can I help, what types of food do they need?” (Answer: Just about anything, but peanut butter, canned fruits, vegetables and meats are a great start.), “Does the CCFB take credit card donations?” (Answer: They do!), “Does The CCFB accept food stamps in exchange for food?” (Answer: The food is FREE, there is no need for currency), and so on.

Here’s the statistic that really stuck with me: This holiday season, a box of food, comprised of all the staples and basics a household depends on (see earlier mentioned peanut butter, canned goods, etc.), can be put together to feed a family for a week, for $25. Think about that – for the price of an average holiday gift (NYT bestseller, music box, sweater), you could feed a family desperately in need this holiday season for an entire week. It got me thinking – we all love Christmas for the family times, laughter, fun food, and memories created. Honestly, when it comes to receiving gifts, I’m blessed in that I have just about every single thing I need, and there are probably many of you out there who feel the same.

This Christmas, give some thought to donating a $25 food box to the CCFB, in the name of someone you love (Mom, Dad, Spouse, etc.), and in your loved ones’ Christmas card, try something along the lines of: “Mom & Dad, I remember when I was young, I never went hungry a day in my life, thanks to you. This Christmas, a hungry family in our area can also say they have food on the table, thanks to you. Merry Christmas, love Kris”.

For more information on how you can easily donate to The Chester County Food Bank, please log onto their website at http://www.ChesterCountyFoodBank.org, stop by their Warehouse at 1208 Horseshoe Pike in Downingtown, or give them a call at 610-873-6000. Merry Christmas, everybody!

Kristen Hagopian is an Author, Columnist, Motivational Speaker and Radio Talk Show Host with WFYL 1180AM. “The Brilliant Frugal Living Show” airs Tuesdays and Saturdays at 11:00A. She lives fabulously & frugally just outside Philadelphia with her husband and two kids. Log onto http://www.BrilliantFrugalLiving.com for more information.

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