Originally posted November 19, 2006
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 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.
Not sure which charity might be worthy or who is working in the part of the world where you're most interested? Check out a charity evaluation website, such as GuideStar, Charity Navigator or JustGive.org.