I had never heard of the concept before this year. Suddenly, I keep seeing references all over the place, but when I tried to Google "third world thanksgiving" I only found information about one organization's fundraising banquet, an interesting article about daily life in poverty-stricken countries, and one site that had a video link which didn't look quite savory, so I left before I figured out exactly what it was showing. Therefore I offer you my own primer.
How to host a Third World Thanksgiving
Basically the idea is twofold: better understanding of and offering tangible assistance to those living in poverty (whether in the Third World or not).
Step one...Invite lots of friends over. And don't forget your family, too. Make sure everyone knows you are having a non-traditional dinner to raise awareness, as well as funds, for the hungry.
Step two...Shop for food. Go to your favorite grocery store with a list of all the ingredients you would need to buy in order to host a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for all the people you now have coming to your house. Price all of the items on your list. Buy only rice.
Step three...Cook dinner. Measure one cup cooked rice per person.
Step four...Enjoy the party. Spend a few hours sharing with family and friends the many blessings in your lives for which each of you can give thanks.
Step five...Share the wealth. Write a check for the amount you would have spent on your traditional Thanksgiving dinner (as calculated in step two). Send it to a worthy charity working to combat poverty and hunger in the Third World or right here in North America. Suggest to your guests that they make donations of their own.
A few charitable organizations working to feed the hungry:
• Church World Service†
• City Mission World Association
• Food for the Hungry International†
• Samaritan's Purse†
• World Relief†
• World Vision†
† on-line donation available
Another site worth a look:
• The Hunger Site
In less than 5 seconds, visitors can click on the "Give Free Food" button and, at no cost to them, send food (one cup per click per day) to the hungry in countries like Bosnia, Lebanon, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Honduras, Mozambique, Eritrea and the United States—anywhere there's a need. The staple food funded by The Hunger Site is paid for by site sponsors and is distributed to those in need by Mercy Corps and America's Second Harvest. 100% of funding from sponsor banner advertising goes to our charity partners. Sign up for email reminders and give an additional two cups of food!
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I need to say Adam and I are not hosting a Third World Thanksgiving on Thursday. We are having a traditional turkey with all the trimmings. I thought this idea was just too good not to share, even though I'm not participating this year.
But keep your eyes open. I may be back for an Eating Less Easter in a few months. Fair warning to those of you who live nearby. Keep your checkbooks handy!