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Not All Food is the Best for Food Drives

SFD_barrelTis the season when most American’s thoughts go to family and gifts and often to giving to those in need. Food drives are common and in company offices and community events as an easy way for everyone to participate in making a difference. Yet it is all too common for well-meaning people to simply clean their cupboards of their own less-than-desirable packaged goods, or to hit the dollars stores as a way to fill the donation bins without too much of a hit in their own wallets.

Unfortunately, as noted in SuperFood Drive Boosts Health, Fights Hunger, many of these items tend to be processed and packed with sugar, sodium, fat and chemicals; not the ideal ingredients when attempting to fight malnutrition, obesity and chronic diseases.

In an attempt to improve the nutritional quality of food donated for the needy, SuperFood Drive was founded in January 2009 in San Diego, California by Ruthi Solari, Nutritionist and Corporate Wellness Professional. SuperFood Drive pursues a vision in which every man, woman and child has access to nutritious food that is essential for an active and healthy life. This 501(c)3 non-profit organization is committed to changing the face of hunger by empowering and guiding hunger relief organizations (food banks and food pantries) in providing nutrient-dense foods and nutrition education to the vulnerable populations who rely upon them.

Next time you choose to donate to a food drive, consider these nutritious options to make your donation make a bigger difference.

Whole wheat pasta with low sodium pasta sauce

Natural peanut butter without hydrogenated oil

Fruit canned in its own juice, instead of high fructose corn syrup

Whole Grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, whole grain cereal, rolled oats

Low sodium soups and vegetables, canned in water

Lean protein (Canned tuna, salmon, sardines), beans, lentils

Learn how to host your own healthy food drive at The site also features healthy recipes and how to donate healthy food online.

Give Back; Be Happy!

In his Huffington Post article, “Entrepreneurship—Completing the Circle,” Suren Dutia reminds us that most accomplished entrepreneurs owe at least some of their success to the foundation of society that allowed them to excel.  Given that, he believes that “success is like a circle and people should pass the benefits of success forward to make the world a better place.”  He goes on to say that  “entrepreneurs embody traits that are ideal for addressing social needs, such as leadership, vision, the ability to attract talented people, drive, focus, perseverance, self-confidence, optimism, competitiveness and ambition.”  Leveraging these talents can indeed positively impact our society for the better.

Mr. Dutia also encourages entrepreneurs to give back in philanthropic ways as well through donations and grants. When he asked one successful gentleman why he gave back, the answer was “I have all the money I require and now I want to spend my time and energy on helping others, my health and be happy.”

Philanthropy may be just the ticket! As reported by Gretchen Rubin in The Happiness Boomerang, “research shows that people who aid the causes they value tend to be happier and in better health, and that they show fewer signs of physical and mental aging.”  So Mr. Dutia’s successful friend may be doing just the thing to ensure his health and happiness.

The Peers Network in San Diego embodies the ideals of entrepreneurs giving back. Their mission is “to give back to the San Diego community by helping enhance and improve philanthropic pursuits while providing a network to encourage entrepreneurship.” In reviewing photos from their activities, you see many smiling faces, and obviously they are enjoying themselves. It makes you wonder; maybe their motivation in giving back is really so they will be happy!

Help Yourself by Helping Others

Dr. Randall S. Hansen offers some quick ideas on how we can each give back in Now is the Time to Help Yourself by Helping Others: 10 Ways to Serve Your Community.

As he says, “We can all make a difference in changing and improving the lives of others — while improving ourselves and serving as a role model for others. It’s time to put the community back into community service.”

Take a quick look at his list. You may already be doing many of these things, but something may just inspire you to take action and make a difference. And when you help others, you help yourself.

Top 10 Ways to Use CSR to Motivate Employees (and create a competitive advantage)

On the Incentive Magazine site, contributor Roy Saunderson, shares the Top 10 Ways to Use CSR to Motivate Employees. We especially like #9, Create a Competitive Advantage. “ A real commitment to a CSR program can lead to a true and defining differentiation from competitors. Your employees will feel it, and so will your suppliers, partners, and customers.”

One of the great things about our software is that if you don’t already have a CSR program, we can help you from the ground up and make it easy!

Millenials Tend to be Volunteer Material

The millennial generation, also known as Generation Y or Echo Boomers, have confounded businesses that look at them replacing the tidal wave of workers from the Baby Boomer generation. They have been stereotyped as self-absorbed with a feeling of entitlement, and not the nose-to-the-grindstone temperament of their parents, who kept corporate gears spinning for decades.

But under that “me-first” exterior, may be the heart of a philanthropist. Their interest in a potential employer is often not limited to salary and benefit packages, but also the type of social impact a company has on its community. And this just may be the key to a mutually satisfactory experience for employer and employee.

According to the 2011 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, Millennials were more likely to factor in a company’s commitment to the community. And those who frequently participate in employee volunteer opportunities are more likely to be proud, loyal and satisfied.

So companies looking for a strong future employment base, might want to first increase their contributions to society.

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