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H.O.W. Humanity One World - Put Together a Feed the Hungry Package to Feed One Person at a Time

Updated on August 15, 2016
MarleneB profile image

Marlene knows what it is like to need help. Now, blessed with abundance, she lives a life of sharing and encourages others to do the same.

Contents in my Feed One Hungry package.
Contents in my Feed One Hungry package. | Source

H.O.W. Humanity One World – Why I Feed the Hungry

I know what it feels like to be hungry – really hungry. And, I know what it feels like to stand in a food pantry line just to get a loaf of bread, a piece of fruit, something to ease the pang. But, before my turn comes to be served, the pantry is out of food. That means I’ll be hungry another day. Yes, I know what it feels like. And, now that I have food in my belly I want to help someone else have food in their belly too.

Feed One Hungry

When I had no food on my table, I sure would have liked it if someone handed me a package of food. So, now that I have food, I break off a piece of my bread to share it with someone else. There is no sense in two people starving when one person could share and help both people live. Having had the hunger experience, I feel l can no longer walk past people who are hungry and do nothing.

I pack packages of food that I call the “Feed One Hungry” package. Each package that I pack is enough to feed one hungry person. I still live at a level that is classified as poverty, so I can’t do this sort of thing on a grand scale, but I can help one person at a time. What I have, I share. That’s all I’m talking about here.

In addition to providing food, I also include a map to local food pantries.

Yes. YOU can change the world!
Yes. YOU can change the world! | Source

Read My Other Hub About Humanity

Read my other hub about humanity. The hub is titled, “H.O.W. One World Humanity | How You Can Change the World”, and in this hub I write about how you, being one person, can make a difference one person at a time. I truly believe that if every person helps one other person that the whole world could be changed for the better.

What is the Feed One Hungry Package

Recently I made a comment on a Facebook post by Bill Holland, a wonderful writer friend I met on HubPages. Bill is the founder of H.O.W. Humanity One World and a man with a heart as big as the world he serves. One of Bill's missions in life is for all of us to do what we can to make the world a better place. Visit Bill’s profile page for HubPages and read inspirational stories of hope and humanity.

Bill wrote a post on his Facebook page about the packages that I put together to give out to people who are hungry. His friends responded positively, wanting to know what I put in the packages. Here is my comment to answer their questions.

Think FDA. Nothing should be touched by our bare hand. Everything should be pre-packaged at the manufacturer's. Also, think convenience. With those two thoughts in mind, I pack a protein, a vegetable, a fruit, a carbohydrate, and bottled water. If it comes in a can (like Vienna sausages) the can must have a self-pop lid. Fruit cocktail is great for fruit, granola bars and cheese crackers are filling. I try to make it a full meal, but everything is pre-packaged with food that doesn't require refrigeration (so I can keep it in my car). I don't pack fresh fruits and vegetables because then my bare hands would have touched the food and the Center for Disease Control might want to cite me for that. I buy plastic packs of cutlery that includes the napkins so that my hands don't touch anything people would put in their mouth. Also, remember that the recipient is likely to be homeless, so they won't be able to cook anything. They need to be able to eat the food straight out of the package. I hope this helps.

Cautions When Preparing the Feed One Hungry Package

When I put together my first package to feed a hungry person, I was not aware of the many things I've listed here. But, since I have been preparing packages and handing them out, I have learned a lot.

There are several concerns with allowing people to hand out food. This is not an all-inclusive list, but in most cases, these issues apply.

  • Hygiene
    First and foremost, anytime you are doing something for someone to consume, hygiene is important. We’re all adults, but it has to be said that you should wash your hands before handling the contents of the Feed One Hungry package. I mean, if you were to cough or sneeze and then touch the contents, then you’re spreading germs that could make the recipient sick. Remember, they probably don’t have medical insurance so you want to keep things as germ-free as possible.
  • Ordinances
    Every city and county has their own set of ordinances that you must adhere to when handing out food. Be sure to check with your area’s policy on this.
  • Regulation of the general public
    As an individual, there is no way for the authorities to provide assurance that you are handing out food that is not tarnished. This is a viable concern. If a food is recalled for contamination, there is no way to know how to contact the source (you) to let you know about the recall. You could, unknowingly, cause people to become ill.
  • Regulation of taxes
    Naturally, everyone wants their fair share. Did you know that when you give someone a gift, that gift can be valued as income? Yeah, income! Income is taxable. So, if a homeless person receives income by way of free food, some overzealous official could chalk it up as income, report it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and then the person you were just trying to feed, now becomes labeled as a tax evader.
  • Littering
    If you are giving away food to people who are homeless, remember they don’t have the conveniences of having a home. They may not have a trash can handy. What tends to happen is that they eat the food and then throw the trash down right where they ate. This creates litter. Litter is one of the biggest concerns of municipalities. It causes more money to be spent cleaning up the city than it would if you had not given away the food. The officials would prefer homeless people to go to a designated place to eat so they would have a place to put their trash when they are done eating.
  • Weapons
    There is a fear that when we give homeless people plastic forks and knives, we are giving them utensils that can be used as weapons. Now, granted, plastic utensils are not weapons of mass destruction, but they can be used as weapons, so there is a concern that we are putting weapons on the street.

Yes, folks, there is more to giving out free food than we can imagine. But, the concerns are there. I’m not advocating that you should break the law, but if you are aware of the concerns and you still want to help people, then I say, good for you… very good for you.

The Contents of the Feed One Hungry Package

I try to keep the contents of the Feed One Hungry package simple and inexpensive. All of the food should be food that is quick and easy to eat and food that can be eaten with no or minimal utensils. I include only a spoon because the only thing in my package that requires a utensil is the fruit cups.

Watch Out for Thieves!

Note: Thieves are notorious for seeing something, wanting it, and taking it. So, to avoid attracting thieves who might want to break into my car after seeing the packages of food, I place a cover over the packages.

I only give away one serving of food for two reasons. First, it is important to remember, when a person is living on the streets, they won’t necessarily have a place to store extra food. The second reason is because there is a lot of crime in the streets. I wouldn’t want anyone to get robbed for having a little bag of potato chips in their pocket.

I pack packages ten at a time and place them in a box to keep handy in my car. If the weather is too hot, as it can be in California, I bring the box indoors and when I go out, I just put the box in the back seat.

A Note About Fresh Fruit

In the past I have included fresh fruit like apples and oranges, but now I am more conscientious about sanitation and now I only include things that are pre-packaged at the manufacturer’s plant.

I don’t put everything on the list into one package. That would be too much food for one serving and it would be too costly for me to be able to feed people on a regular basis. I try to keep the cost to about $2.00 (plus or minus).

A typical package that I put together might consist of Vienna sausages, beans, fruit cocktail, cheese and crackers, water, spoon, sanitary hand wipe, and napkin.

My Feed One Hungry Package

Canned Vienna Sausages
Canned Beans
Fruit Cups
Packaged Cheese and Crackers
Bottled Water
Spoon (or Spork)
Sanitary Wipe (Napkin)

The following table is a list of items that I have put into a Feed One Hungry package. This is just a suggestion. You may, of course come up with an entirely different list of items. The cost of each item will vary from store to store. These are prices at the time I created this list. I have provided them here for you to get an idea of how much you could expect for a food package.

Things to Put in a Feed One Hungry Package

Servings Per Container
Cost Per Container
Cost Per Serving
Canned Vienna Sausages
Small Package of Tuna
Canned Beans
Fruit Cups
Individually Wrapped Prunes (or other dried fruit)
Packaged Cheese and Crackers
Snack Chips
Granola Bars
Bottled Water
Spork (Spoon/Fork Combo)
Sanitary Wipes (Napkins)

Each Feed One Hungry package can vary. Determine your budget and then select a combination of items that fit within your budget.

Individually Wrapped Cutlery and Napkins

From a sanitation standpoint, it is a good idea to provide individually wrapped cutlery and sanitary napkins. Individually wrapped cutlery is difficult to find in regular stores. The best place to purchase individually wrapped cutlery is to shop at stores that cater to restaurants (or have a friend in the business who donates these items to you). I have shopped at many stores that sell plastic cutlery but was unsuccessful in finding them individually wrapped. I will be purchasing my next batch of individually wrapped cutlery online to save time. The sporks (spoon and fork combo utensil) look particularly attractive, so I'll get those for future packages.

I searched, but I could only find individually wrapped napkins at stores that sold to restaurants and online. However, I am able to find individually wrapped sanitary wipes at grocery stores and pharmacies in the picnic isle. Either way, it appears that it is less expensive to purchase individually wrapped sanitary wipes online.

Spork - Individually Wrapped

H.O.W. Humanity One World

H.O.W. Humanity One World
H.O.W. Humanity One World | Source

Yes! You Can Make a Difference!

Even if you only put one package together and feed one person, remember you have made a difference in that person’s life. Do this twice a week and you have made two people’s lives better. Three times a week and you will have made three people’s lives better. Do you see now how you, being one person, can make a difference in the lives of many?

© 2013 Marlene Bertrand


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    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thank you, pstraubie48. I truly do feel like there is no need to feel overwhelmed about the things we cannot do so long as we feel strongly about the things we CAN do. One person helping one other person is enough to make a significant difference in the lives of many. Many blessings to you and those around you.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      Spot on, Marlene. My friends and I were talking last night about this kind of thing. One person at a time is how we truly make a difference. Looking at the big picture and thinking what we can could leave us feeling powerless; but helping one person, each ONE of us will make a difference in the life of someone who is in need.

      Well done...

      Angels are headed your way and to each of those who feel a special need

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      Hi Suzanne Day. Thank you for your positive feedback. I have been hearing a lot about crowd funding but never considered it for something like this. Thank you for the idea. I will look into it.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 

      6 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      It was fascinating to read about the Food One Hungry package and you have certainly put a lot of consideration into how the food will be consumed and under what circumstances. I didn't know Bill was the founder of HOW but it sounds like a great organisation and if you haven't done some crowdfunding, now might be a good time to check it out! Voted useful ;)

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      Hello poetryman6969. Yes, from a sanitation point of view, it helps make sure the food and utensils are not contaminated. And, the hope is that after consumption, everything can be placed in the trash can to keep the area clean.

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      6 years ago

      You mention giving in a sanitary way. That's something I never thought of before. One should definitely give some thought about not putting someone else in a position wherein they are likely to just toss the excess packaging they were just handed and thus make a bigger mess then they may already have to deal with.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thank you colorfulone! You are so kind. There was a point in my life where the food bank was a life source for me. If it were not for people like you, I don't know where I would be today. It was enough to get me through a difficult time and now I try to help others as a way of doing my part in easing that pain of hunger.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      6 years ago from USA

      Hi PegCole17. Yes. There is no feeling like true hunger. It is an experience that drives me to do what I can to make sure others do not feel that pain. I can't help everybody, but I do what I can. And, yes, it is sad that plastic knives are considered weapons on the street. It's the world we live in. Thank you so much for sharing your comment with me.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 years ago from North Dallas, Texas

      Your ideas on what to include in your package are well thought out and explain the reasons not to include certain items. I never considered a plastic knife to be a weapon, but now I can understand. The spork seems like a good alternative. This is just a great way to help on an individual level. Sorry to hear that you've personally experienced hunger. Hope things are better for you now.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      Marlene, you are an angel in skin for doing what you do to help feed one person at a time. I use to run a food bank when I lived in a city, and people appreciate free food. It meant life to them.

      What an inspiring hub. I shared it and voted it up.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hi MsDora! For me, it's the least I can do. I think of it as sharing. Two people eat, then one won't go hungry.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 years ago from The Caribbean

      What a great inspiration to do my part. You have broken it down to where it seems difficult not to get involved. Thank you for providing a very practical example.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hello ChitrangadaSharan. I'm glad you have had the experience of the joy that comes with helping others. Thank you very much for your positive feedback.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Thank you, DDE. I truly appreciate your kind words.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      7 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is such a noble thought!

      Even I do this and it gives me immense satisfaction. I liked it that you have suggested a very organised way of doing this.

      Thanks for sharing such a noble idea in your hub!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      7 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      H.O.W. Humanity One World Put Together a Feed the Hungry Package to Feed One Person at a Time awesome hub and most thoughtful indeed.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hi Ericdierker. I'm a people watcher myself. I like going to the park and just watching people. It's a lot of fun. This might sound strange, but when my husband and I were dating, we would go to the bar and watch the people. We'd bet on who would dance with this person or that person. We'd bet on who would turn down every suitor except one and make the other suitors angry. One time, we bet on who was at the bar under pretense (like maybe he told his significant other that he had to work late at the office, but really he was at the bar). We both selected the same prospect. As it turns out, before the night was over, it looked like the guy's homegirl (or wife) showed up and caught him with another woman. Busted! A verbal fight ensued. Then, my husband and I bet on whether the guy would stay with the girl he arrived with or leave with the girl who arrived. Guess what? He stayed. I lost the bet. It was a fun night of people-watching.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      7 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hey it might sound selfish but I have to admit that people are a hobby of mine. I just love em, like somebody might be with their favorite sports team. My boy and I went for a long walk and I brought a bag, he got to find garbage and I got to pick it up --- wahoo!

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      De nada, Ericdierker. Your idea is a great one, especially because if the person is there with you, then it is more likely they really do want food and not just money to buy drugs and alcohol. I like your idea of handing out the wipes, toothbrushes, and water. It's so thoughtful.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Oh yes, Sue Bailey. You bring up a point that is very true. I never give out money. One day I bought food for a person who wanted money. I thought I was doing the better thing for him. But, right after handing him the food, he went right over to the 7-11 store and tossed the food straight into the dumpster- including the soda. I spent good money on that food! That's when I started putting together the brown bag meals. I figured, if they end up throwing the food away, I won't be out a lot of money because of it. I've also learned that if they ask for money, they really don't want food, so I end up not giving them anything. I'd rather the food went to someone who really wanted it.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      7 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I tend to go to small markets and fast food places -- where I never eat, and get them stuff they watch me buy. And they are already there panhandling. You know that if you are not overeating and do it only occasionally that food is really ok for you. I also like to give out handiwipes and toothbrushes. And my boy and I take water down into the canyons.

      Marlene -- I think I will get my wife into the act by preparing some of your packages --- she could/would not ever hand them out but this is a cool way to contribute.

      Muchas Gracias

    • Sue Bailey profile image

      Susan Bailey 

      7 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

      What a wonderful idea! I guess you would have to choose your recipient carefully. A lot of homeless people are drug and alcohol dependent and wouldn't thank you for this because they just want money they can spend on drugs and alcohol. That said, there are lots of others who would be grateful and it's a very good thing you are doing.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hello Jackie Lynnley! It does seem like there should be more that we can do to force the officials to be wise about our money. But, I think it all begins with who we put in office. Bad people voted in means bad decisions handed out. Voters need to stop voting for bad people. Seeing good people living in the street and hungry tugs at my heart like nothing else. It seems like more could be done to help them. Thank you so much for your wise and positive comment. God bless you for being so sweet.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hello teaches12345, and thank you for your feedback. You have a giving heart. I hope you city allows you to be able to help those who are hungry.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      7 years ago from the beautiful south

      This is all we can do for now Marlene and it is what God wants us to do but as a citizen of the US we need to join together as a voice at least and demand our tax dollars that are thrown around so carelessly could be better used to help our homeless, after all they are citizens too.

      God will bless you I have no doubt.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      What a wonderful mission! I am going to look into our county ordinances and see if we can do it here. God bless you!

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hi Faith! You are an inspiration to me. While I originally included a map to pantries in the bag, I believe you are the person who gave me the idea of placing a map of other helpful sources - like churches - into the bag as well.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Hi Bill, thank you for your positive feedback. Morning, noon, or night, any time you comment is a cherished word to me.

    • MarleneB profile imageAUTHOR

      Marlene Bertrand 

      7 years ago from USA

      Thank you, bravewarrior. I am happy to receive your positive feedback. I've learned a lot since trying to help feed people. It may seem like such a simple thing, but at times, handing out food can be complicated.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Marlene, this is a great idea. Thank you for outlining the FDA and CDC considerations. My first thought would be to provide fresh fruit, but you make a very valid point why everything should be pre-packaged.

      God bless your soul!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was too tired last night to comment; today I'll tell you that this is a wonderful example of what H.O.W. is all about. Bravo to you my friend; now, hopefully, others will follow in your path and make a difference.

      Thank you Marlene for your giving heart.


    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      7 years ago from southern USA

      Awesome Marlene! Yes, we can make a difference, one person at a time. I do this very thing to minister to the homeless around the building in the city in which I work. You have given me more great ideas to include in my "packages" too.

      Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus and keep shining your light to His glory.

      Up and more and sharing

      God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper


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