I've long been a fan of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, since I first learned about them in 2004. They support a host of housing programs in the city, including the agency where I used to work. I have, in fact, directly benefited from the Food Depository: free lunch was one of the benefits of my former job, and it helped out the staff of a non-profit that really couldn't afford to distribute large paychecks.
When this report came out about American "food insecurity", and this article was posted in the New York Times about the spike in food stamp use, I realized this group has even more work to do this winter... even after the need for food pantries had already increased the last couple of years.
From the report: "This is the highest recorded prevalence rate of food insecurity since 1995 when the first national food security survey was conducted."
This, in the United States, still one of the wealthiest countries on the planet.
Locally, I like to support the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a group that not only assists individuals and families, but supplements all kinds of local charitable organizations - including the program where I used to work. Without food support, I know that many non-profits in the city would have difficulty making ends meet while they are trying to provide services for people who need it most.
After Thanksgiving, which is a holiday of Too Much Food, and in the midst of the baking and overeating that is common during December, it's especially jarring to consider our neighbors who are having trouble putting enough food on the table to meet their nutritional needs.
Of course, this group is location-specific, but I'm sure if you aren't in Chicago there's a similar group fighting hunger. Feeding America (Formerly known as America's Second Harvest) hosts a handy food-bank locator for groups all over the country.
My current workplace is having a Chrismukkah party next week, and we're collecting donations for the Greater Chicago Food Depository as part of the celebration. I've heard of several places doing things like this: hosting parties with a "cover charge" of nonperishable food. It's an easy way to do a little good.