Simple Ways to Help the Hungry

One easy way to help struggling families, who just might live next door and are losing the battle with rising food and gas prices, is to "add an item" at the grocery store.

Every time you visit your local supermarket, purchase one extra item, and when you get home, place that food in a box. When the box is full, take the next step and give it to a food bank or a church.

ABC News spent an afternoon at a Publix grocery store in suburban Atlanta and found a number of shoppers who were willing to give it a go and add that extra item.

Brenda Reid, from the Publix grocery chain, gave us the following little gem. "It doesn't cost a whole lot of money to just put in a box of spaghetti, or maybe it's a buy-one, get-one free item. It doesn't have to cost you anything at all."


Most food is donated in winter, usually around the holidays, when many Americans are feeling generous. But there's a need year-round, especially in the summer when children aren't getting lunches at school. Adding an item, and giving that food away, can make a huge difference. According to food aid administrators, every pound and a half of food collected is the rough equivalent of one meal. Collect 30 16-ounce cans, and that could turn into someone's food for a week.

"Collectively [if we all did this] it would add up to millions and millions of pounds," said Bill Bolling of Atlanta Community Food Bank.

A second way to make a difference in neighborhoods across the globe is to give $5 -- or another small donation -- at some point this year to international relief agencies that give a "hand up" to the poor.

A typical donation of $34 buys a 100-pound bag of rice, which is enough food to last a family for one month. But if you give that money to Care International, for example, that organization will spend those same dollars to buy seeds and teach the world's poor how to farm and sustain their own food supply.

Helene Gayle, CEO of Care International, said, "We don't only give people fish, but we also help to teach people to fish."

You could send $5 to an organization like the Heifer Project, which provides families with cows, chickens and goats -- food that gives back in milk and eggs.

Elizabeth Elango-Bintliff of Heifer International told ABC News that no amount of donation is too small.

"Absolutely, every little bit is important," she said. "One cent, if that's all you have, we'll take it."

A small donation here, a canned good there, it all adds up to two things that can help feed the world.