When it comes to the holiday season many of us tend to think about spending time with loved ones and the food we’re going to prepare for our holiday celebrations. But for many Americans, 49 million to be exact and more than 12 million children, hunger is something they have dealt with or something they will deal with this year. The statistics are heartbreaking and leave us wondering how we can help?
DIY Network “I Hate My Kitchen” host James Young joined me for an interview recently to discuss the Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign and how he and Walmart are working to help food pantries across the country. James also shared tips on how Americans can get involved and help those in need.
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about the Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign, and what inspired you to get involved?
James Young: “First of all, what inspired me was hearing the numbers. 49 million people in the U.S. are food insecure, and 16 million of those are children – that really spoke to my heart. When I think about children not being able to have a meal or coming home from school and not being able to eat is just terrible. Walmart (being the biggest grocer in the United States) is taking on this commitment and what they’ve come up with is this Food Pantry Holiday makeover where they’re going to donate $1.5 million dollars across the United States to food pantries. 75 food pantries will get $20,000 grants.
When you think about donating to a food pantry, you think about giving food. When you really look at it, if you give a lot of food and that food pantry is not equipped to take it on, well then that food can go to waste. That $20,000 grant can go towards storing the food, refrigerating the food, preparing the food, delivering the food – it can go right to the specific needs of the food pantry itself, that’s what they’re doing there.
It’s real easy to get involved with it because all you have to do is go to Walmart.com/HolidayMakeover between the dates of December 2nd and December 12th and vote for their local community food pantry. They can vote once every single day between those times, and then December 15th the winner will be announced.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything else we can do to feed the hungry in our communities?
James Young: “Well, I think awareness is one. Be aware that when you hear those staggering numbers – I suggest you call up your local pantry and ask them what they need. They specifically tell you that they need food, they might ask if you can come down for an hour or two hours. You never know exactly what they want unless you call them and ask them. I like to drop them food gift cards. I’ll drop off a Walmart card or a local grocer card right to the food pantry, so that way they can get the food when they want it or when they need it.”
Candace Rose: As a kitchen remodeling expert, do you have any tips on how we can get our kitchens ready for the holidays?
James Young: “For the holidays, if you want to do something kind of something and very simple, I talk about opening the back of your cabinets, take a piece of cardboard – cut it to the size of the back of your cabinets and then put on some holiday paper along your cabinets, so when you open it up you’ve got all the colors and it’s festive.
I also recommend chalkboard paint! You can take some chalkboard paint, you can paint out a rectangle or a square and that way you can leave holiday messages and put your favorite recipes, the kids would definitely have a fun time with it. You can use different colored chalks to get in that holiday festive mood.
Those are just a few easy real decorative things. I always encourage safety – make sure you use the correct rated holiday lights. You don’t want to use indoor lights outside and vis versa. Use surge protectors because we want to be safe for the holidays.”
Candace Rose: Thank you so much, James. Where can we go for more information?
James Young: “You want to go to Walmart.com/HolidayMakeover, that’s all you have to do. The voting starts on December 2nd through the 12th.”