Famine to Feast gives Secret Santa opportunity

By Arin McKenna (Los Alamos Monitor)

Do you know of an individual or family who could use food or clothing or a gift this Christmas, but you do not want to embarrass them by bringing the items to their door? Or perhaps you have a warm blanket or coat you would like to pass on to a homeless person but do not know how to go about that.
Famine to Feast will do that for you. The 501c 3 organization has designated Dec. 16–25 as “Secret Santa” time.
“We’re always looking for ways to try to help our community. And in keeping with what we do, we try to facilitate…it doesn’t always have to be food,” co-founder Jaret McDonald said.
Famine to Feast is dedicated to getting food and other donations from donors to where they are needed.
“But this is the time of year when we’re not really busy because we’re an instant food type of donation,” McDonald said, noting that during the Christmas season most people save their food to contribute to food drives.
So instead of an “instant donation” to a food bank or another charitable organization, Feast to Famine decided to play “instant Santa.”
The concept is that those wishing to donate or make an anonymous gift to someone in need can contact Famine to Feast through its website or their Apple app and say, “I would like to donate xxx to so-and-so, or to this organization.”
Famine to Feast will pick the items up and see they get delivered, allowing the donor to remain anonymous.
“So maybe you want somebody to have something special for Christmas, or you know of a family that’s in need and you want to be anonymous. Say you have a box of food or a box of clothing you want to deliver to a family,” McDonald said.
“People have probably seen some of the homeless people we have in town and thought, gosh, I wish I could give this scarf to that guy.”
“We’ll go actively seek those people out. You donate through our webpage or our app and we’ll go seek those people out.”
In fact, the idea originated with one of the organization’s volunteers, who mentioned they had some things they would like to give to a homeless person they knew of but were not sure they could find that person. Other volunteers not only felt they could help out on that front, but decided to expand on the idea.
“So we said, why don’t we offer that to the public? Maybe the public wants to do something somewhere, and sort of follow in those lines,” McDonald said.
McDonald stressed that Secret Santa donations could be anything – food, clothing, ornaments, other items – with the exception of heavy items such as furniture.
Items could also be earmarked for organizations such as Aspen Ridge Lodge or Sombrillo Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. In fact, nonprofit organizations can go directly to the website or app during that week and specify items they are in need of, anything from blankets to used laptops. Donors can check the website for those needs and donate those items through Famine to Feast.
“So maybe someone doesn’t have someone that they want to directly donate to, but they have this stack of blankets and don’t want them to go to waste, then we would know that this place could take all these blankets,” McDonald said.
Famine to Feast will collect and distribute items from Dec. 16 all the way through the end of Christmas day. Download the Apple app (Android is not yet available) or go tofaminetofeastnow.org to learn more or to make a donation.