Today is #GivingTuesday

When I opened the Facebook app this morning, this was their automated greeting.

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I’m on it. I hope you are, too. Please share your #givingTuesday efforts here and on social media. Make sure to use the hashtag so we can all find each other in the seemingly endless social media world!

Can’t wait to read your stories!

As for me, I’m splitting my monetary giving between the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation and Martha’s Table this year.

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In addition, I’m meeting with some wonderful people tomorrow morning about an opportunity to get involved with an up-and-coming but already successful food outreach project in the community where I currently live. I know tomorrow is not technically #GivingTuesday, but why should our giving be isolated to one day? I’ll keep you updated as it develops.

Read on for more or click the links above to go right to the source. Don’t forget to share your stories in the comments!

That’s two food organizations and one baseball organization. That covers a couple of the things close to my heart. Most of the time, I donate to local animal rescue groups wherever I live as well as RBI. I also work with Major League Baseball youth programs every spring. I’ll continue to do that those thing, but this year, I wanted to do three new things with giving:

1) I wanted to connect some of my giving to food-related charities.

Makes sense considering the direction of this blog, no? I chose Martha’s Table because of my love for the Washington, DC, area, which will become apparent as time goes on.

I also chose them over the countless others in that area because they’re focused on holistic development of youth and families, including not just access to healthy food but education, opportunity, and family support. With food programs like Martha’s Markets and the Joyful Food Market, outreach programs for young children and their families as well as older youth, and emergency support programs like McKenna’s Wagon, Martha’s Outfitters, and Martha’s Outlet, Martha’s Table touches a great number of people in the DC Metro Area.

Perhaps the thing that resonates most with me is an especially powerful outreach, DC Witnesses to Hunger. This program shows the realities of hunger and poverty not just in DC but throughout the US through the stories and photographs of people who have faced these challenges firsthand. DC Witnesses to Hunger empowers people who have overcome their obstacles as well as those looking for a way to do the same. DC Witnesses to Hunger stuck with me because it’s a living version of the type of research I advocated for in graduate school. Why just talk about what we find when we can give a voice to the people we study and use their voices to help them overcome the oppression they face and that we lament as scholars?

I’ve lost you? My apologies. I’ll try to limit how often I do it, but the activist scholar is an important member of my identity bank, so she may appear from time to time.

2) I wanted to go smaller in baseball and give to a player charity.

Major League Baseball has a plethora of great community programs. We see that often if we watch baseball at any time, but sometimes we don’t see how many individual players have put up their own funds and time to create programs around the causes that mean so much to them.

Usually, I go straight to MLB when it comes to outreach, but I opted for one of those player charities that I’ve kept an eye on for a while and that belongs to a player even the least baseball-enthused person might recognize now that he and his team have broken baseball’s longest running curse.

Anthony Rizzo is a Chicago Cub, a 3-time All Star, a perennial award winner (Gold Glove, Platinum Glove, Silver Slugger, Heart & Hustle, Branch Rickey…you get the picture), and a World Series champion. He’s also a cancer survivor.

Early in his professional career, when he was a mere prospect, Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy. Imagine being so close to your life’s goal, fighting to make it to the top level of your career, and finding out you had to fight this fight, too.

Anthony did fight the fight. He was lucky enough to win it. In November 2008, his doctors told him he could “live a normal life,” and he chose to elevate “normal” to extraordinary. He founded the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation in 2012 to help families dealing with cancer to find their own “normal” and “extraordinary” by funding research and family support programs.

One of the reasons I chose Rizzo’s foundation this year is because he puts so much of himself into the work they do, appearing at everything from major events to private hospital visits. Sure, many (if not all) of the other players are actively engaged with their programs, but I have a special place in my heart for Anthony Rizzo, so I picked him.

If you don’t know this guy, you should.

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Anthony Rizzo holds real live Cubs at Spring Training 2016.
3) I wanted to spend some time helping out with a developing project.

Let’s get back to food. As I mentioned, I have a meeting with the amazing women who run a project that feeds nearly 100 homeless people every Thursday afternoon in the Pensacola, Florida, area. The couple makes the food each week with love and care, making sure the flavors mix well and there’s a variety of healthy options.

Interestingly, they don’t have an official name for their outreach, nor do they have a home on the web. The closest thing they have to an official outlet is Christ Episcopal Church in downtown Pensacola. Unofficially dubbed the Lee Street Feeding Project, Dawn and Carol Cooper work tirelessly on their mission, and I’m excited to meet with them to talk about how Wait! I’ll Eat That can help.

That’s enough about my plans for #givingTuesday. Let’s hear yours!

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