Thanksgiving began long ago as a day of giving thanks for the bounty of summer’s harvest. Today, it’s a holiday that’s dedicated to being grateful for several aspects of our lives: family, friends, shelter, clothes, and of course, food. On Thanksgiving, many of us are lucky enough to be able to gather in a warm cozy home to share a delicious feast with our friends and family.
Yet while we have many things to be thankful for, Thanksgiving is named “Thanksgiving” for a reason. In addition to being thankful for what we have, Thanksgiving is also a time to give to those who are in need of the very same things we are so thankful to have.
The funny thing is, though, the items that we are so thankful for are the same items that are often wasted. Food is frequently thrown away before it reaches the grocery store, and clothes are tossed in the trash bin instead of donated. When we live in a world that offers such bounty, there shouldn’t be so many people needing and wanting for items that so commonly go to waste.
This Thanksgiving, challenge yourself to waste less and give more by following the steps below.
1. Reduce food waste by becoming a Hungry Harvest Hero.
- By becoming a Hungry Harvest Hero, you are wasting less and giving more all at the same time! Hungry Harvest is an amazing non-profit that sources surplus, discolored or oddly shaped food from farmers and grocery stores and delivers it to your door.
- For every delivery, a family in need is provided access to affordable fruits & veggies through the Produce in a SNAP program and through donations to local community organizations.
- To date, Hungry Harvest has delivered more than 3,000,000 pounds of recovered produce, provided access to 50,000 pounds of reduced-cost produce, and donated over 500,000 pounds of produce to partner organizations. To learn more about Hungry Harvest, click here.
2. Brush the dust off your closet and pantry and gather items for donation.
- By the time Thanksgiving rolls around each year, there’s bound to be items in your pantry and closet that just aren’t being used. Instead of letting your canned or bagged goods expire and tossing your old clothes out with the weekly trash, donate them to a local food drive or shelter.
3. Reinvent your turkey-day leftovers!
- Leftovers can become boring and repetitive, and in turn go to waste. Instead of donating your leftover feast to the trash can, transform them into delicious and fun meals. Some ideas and recipes are included below.
- Save your turkey bones, onion skins and more to make bone broth! Broth is great for soups, and freezes well for later. Check out this recipe by The Starving Chef for inspiration.
- Grilled cheese, anyone? Leftover turkey and cranberries belong on leftover bread with brie cheese.
- Want a lighter take on leftovers? The Gluten Free Homestead has a great salad recipe for leftover turkey, potatoes and kale.
- Don’t toss your pumpkin decorations! They deserve to be bread. Shifting Roots has an awesome and simple recipe for pumpkin bread that can be made in a mixer.
- Tired of turkey? Make freezer burritos to save some for later! You could make a breakfast burrito with turkey, leftover mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs, or use leftover turkey with some cheddar cheese and black beans for a lunch burrito. Just wrap the burrito in tinfoil and pop it in the freezer. To reheat, remove the tinfoil, wrap in a damp paper towel, and microwave for 3 minutes.
Are you up for the challenge to waste less and give more this Thanksgiving? Leave a comment below to share how you are reducing your impact this holiday season. Happy Holidays!
**I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤