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menu for hope

menu for hope 2008

The last time I gave away sets of my favorite reusable grocery bags, you — and your two thousand, five hundred and thirty-six comments — broke my server. Once my hosting company fixed the server, they evicted me and insisted that I move to a shinier, better server and began charging me eight times as much. Not that I am bitter or complaining or anything! You are worth every penny.

But, I decided that if I ever did a giveaway again, it would have to be for a very good cause, and that, my friends, brings us up to today.

The Menu for Hope campaign is organized annually by food bloggers all over the world who donate raffle prizes that contributors are eligible to enter for with each $10 donation. Last year — a year I gave out cookie care packages, which are great and all but certainly not nearly as cool as earth-saving, plastic-bag-banishing reusable bags — we raised $92,000 for the UN World Food Program, enabling the program to reach out to 86.1 million people in 80 countries in 2007 to fight hunger. This year, I’ve teamed up with to offer two sets of RuMe reusable bags. Each set contains three full-size bags and the winners of these two prizes can choose the color and/or pattern set they like best.

I own two sets of these bags and not only use them daily, I’ve given them to almost everyone I know. Because they fold down into the tiniest of self-snapping pouches, you never have an excuse to not have one in your bag. Plus, for people (ahem) who hate lugging groceries more than anything else in the whole world, these bags hold more than twice what plastic bags do but distribute the weight more comfortably (and can be slung on your shoulder) it makes a world of difference when heaving ingredients up those stairs, not to mention some difference in the world by adding one less plastic bag to our trash heaps.

How to donate/enter to win:

  • Go to First Giving, the site that manages this campaign, and make your donation. For every $10 donation, you are eligible to win one raffle prize.
  • If you’re interested in winning one of the two sets of reusable grocery bags we’re giving away, when you are prompted to enter a “personal message” enter code UE25 or UE26 — the codes associated with this prize. If you are eligible for more than one prize — for example, if you gave $50 — you could apply two tickets to one prize and three to another. Simply write 2xUE25 + 3xUE26, or whichever combination of prizes you’re hoping for.
  • Not the prize you wanted? Check out the master list of prizes to see what else is being offered.
  • Finally, check the box that follows which says that you are “happy for the page owner to see my email address” — very necessary so we can contact you if you won!

But wait! There’s more! For the duration of the Menu for Hope campaign (until Dec. 24), is also offering a 15 percent discount on all purchases. Enter MenuForHope at checkout, and you’ll receive 15 percent off your entire order. What does this have to do with feeding the hungry, you ask? Each time someone uses that discount code, will donate a dollar to the Menu for Hope campaign.

The winners of each raffle prize will be announced in early January. The last day to give is December 24.

That’s great, lady, but where are my cookies? Ludicrously over-the-top cookies, coming up next.

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17 comments on menu for hope

  1. So I’ve only got $10 to donate and am carefully trying to decide which prize to go for. I’m wondering about the bags – are the handles fairly thick? I don’t have a care and carry lots of groceries, so thin handles can cut off my circulation – once I couldn’t feel two of my fingers for three days! But I’d like to start using more reuseable bags. Thanks for participating; this is a fabulous event.

  2. deb

    The handles are thin — the same material as the bags. But, they don’t bunch up on your shoulder the way plastic bag handles do. I find that when the bags are full, the handles are quite soft and comfortable, distributing the weight. It’s like magic.

  3. Judith,
    I am the community manager at and I have to tell you these RuMe bags are amazing. The handles are think and they can carry up to 50 pounds. Really once you start using these you won’t ever be able to imagine how you lived without them!

  4. Sunshine

    I actually make my bags from plarn. They take forever for me to make, but they’re pretty sturdy, I’m recycling, and people love them.

    Plus, and waaaay more importantly, David Lebovitz is giving an ice cream maker as his prize and I am SOOOO all about that (maybe I shouldn’t mention it anywhere – Hey! SK reader’s get Deb’s prize!).

  5. Beth

    Another vote of confidence. I got a set of the RuMe bags…I love them. My 12 year old son carries all his winter gear in one of them to school…boots, snowpants and gloves and it all fits! Plus, if the bag gets damp they quickly dry. They are great! Use them for more than just groceries!!

  6. Luise

    Not to be a grinch, but do you know what percentage of the money raised by First Giving goes to Menu for Hope? More often than we would like to know, the needy party gets way less than the total raised. That’s my only worry.

  7. deb

    Great question. In fact, it’s a huge pet peeve of mine and the reason (speaking of Grinches!) I don’t buy pink boxes of tissues or yellow armbands (preferring to actually give money directly to causes). I’ll let you know.

    Update: They take a 7.5 percent fee = 5 percent for them + 2.5 percent credit card processing fee. Of your $10 donation, $9.25 arrives, which all things considered (on said $2 pink box of tissues, 12.5 cents was donated) isn’t so bad.

  8. Linda

    Oh the RuMe bags are the greatest. I already have several (6 reg 3 mini) and enjoy them very much. I can recommend them wholeheartedly.

    Thanks, Deb!

  9. Ruth H

    Well I didn’t do it correctly. But I felt good giving.
    I didn’t put that the page owner would see my address.
    Hope the donation helps anyway.The bags look very nice and I will keep them in mind for the future.
    Good luck with the fundraiser.

  10. David

    I have to stop and say how much I love you and your site. I found you through pepperplate, downloading interesting recipies and I must say, you are fantastic!! You are in fact very interesting and have the most wonderful recipies I have found in such a short time. I am still exploring but, must say your site will be where I find myself more than not. Thank you for your hard work. Dave.