Food-related gifts that give back

Here are some last-minute gift ideas that help others in need with every gift you give.

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    Through the United Nations World Food Programme and UNICEF, FEED gifts help provide school lunches to children around the world.
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The idea behind FEED is simple: fight hunger and malnutrition around the world by providing free lunches at school. Through the United Nations World Food Programme and UNICEF, FEED does just that – and more. School feeding is one of the most effective solutions to stopping hunger and helping children break out of the poverty cycle they were born into. When boys and girls are given a free, nutritious meal in school, research has shown that attendance and performance greatly increase.

To raise funds, FEED sells a wide array of stylish gifts, from tote bags to toys, apparel, accessories and more. And each gift tells you exactly how many meals you’ll be providing and where. You’ll find great gift ideas for everyone on your list at the FEED website.

Cheery Le Creuset stoneware Mini Cocottes are perfect for making and serving individual servings of mac and cheese or other sides or desserts. And for every set purchased, Le Creuset will donate $20 to Share Our Strength and its No Kid Hungry campaign. Share Our Strength began in 1984 with a mission to fight hunger around the world. In 2004, it turned its focus on ending childhood hunger in America. You can order these Mini Cocottes at the Le Creuset website. (Thanks to Lydia over at The Perfect Pantry for turning me on to this one.)

Recommended: A foodie gift guide

You don’t always have to get something to give something. Your favorite charities are always in need – and the need is particularly great as economies around the world struggle. So be generous with the organizations of your choice, from local food pantries, to homeless shelters, animal rescue centers and even the valiant Salvation Army bell ringers braving the elements on street corners.

One of our favorites is the Greater Chicago Food Depository, a nonprofit that distributes donated food to pantries, soup kitchens and shelters throughout the area. They also offer training programs that help men and women find jobs in the food industry to break the cycle of poverty. Another is Heifer International, a global nonprofit that fights hunger by supplying training and animal gifts to families to help them become self-reliant. You can give heifers, as the name implies, but their list has expanded to 30 types of animals it now provides – from goats, geese and guinea pigs to bees, silkworms and water buffalo. So give to the charity of your choice. When you do, you will get something in return – a really good feeling inside.

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