Mercy Corps urges Americans to put the “giving” back into Thanksgiving

November 18, 2009

Help mothers around the world feed their families this holiday season through Mercy Corps’ Thanksgiving challenge. New online tool encourages group giving; families and friends come together to give thanks and give back.

Portland, OR – Mercy Corps is challenging Americans to put the “giving” back in Thanksgiving by matching the amount they spend on a meal this Thanksgiving Day with a donation that fights global hunger.

According to the American Federation of Farm Bureaus, the average American family spent $45 on Thanksgiving dinner in 2008. Many American families will spend much more – over $100 on Thanksgiving dinner this year. How much does it cost to help a poor family feed itself?

- $5 helps a farmer replant an acre of rice in typhoon-ravaged Myanmar.

- $17 gives a conflict-affected Ugandan family the seeds they need for an entire planting season, enabling them to grow their own food.

- $30 buys an emergency food pack for a family struggling in Zimbabwe.

- $80 finances a microloan that buys a goat for a woman in Honduras, allowing her to give her children milk and possibly meat.

Hunger is a reality for more people than ever this year. A billion people go to bed hungry every night, according to the World Food Program. The UN reports that malnutrition poses the world’s number one health risk: a risk greater than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

Mercy Corps President Nancy Lindborg said the organization wants to give Americans a simple but meaningful way to express thanks. “A little bit goes a long way for the world’s poor,” Lindborg said. “This is a way to give thanks by helping to save lives and feed families around the world.”

People are already taking up the challenge. “My family and I are taking part because we think being generous to those in need is the best way to show gratitude for the blessings we have,” said Kathryn Larnell, a Mercy Corps donor from Phoenix. “If I can spend $10 on cranberry sauce, I know I can spend $10 to help feed a family.”

As part of this Thanksgiving challenge, Mercy Corps is launching an easy online tool that allows families and groups of friends to make donations together. To learn more about how to put the “giving” back into Thanksgiving visit www.mercycorps.org/thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving challenge is part of Mercy Corps’ One Table campaign. One Table aims to influence government policy, raise awareness and fund programs that support women's roles in strengthening food security in the developing world. The campaign is inspired by Mercy Corps' belief that investing in women is one of the smartest ways to end hunger. For more information, visit http://onetable.mercycorps.org.