Parenting Blog

Doing Good Is Easy

Sure, I mailed hockey cards to my favorite players with self-address stamped envelopes tucked inside to increase my odds of receiving an autographed reply. It worked too! I still have those signed Nick Lidstrom, Chris Osgood and Slava Kozlov cards to prove it! It’s the little things that brought me joy during my childhood. In that way I was much like any other sports-obsessed kid but 10-year-old me also sent away for promotional VHS tapes (remember those?) from culinary schools; Johnson and Wales, the Culinary Institute of America, oh I had ‘em all. I’m fairly confident in saying there were fewer tweens (did that term exist in the 80s?) with a collection of cooking school college admission tapes! Unlike the hockey cards I still hold dear, those clunky VHS cassettes have been lost to history. Funny now that, some three decades later, a beloved brand found in many a kitchen, Land O Lakes, is helping me remember how thankful I am to be able to do good in the community through their new tagline: “Add a Little Good™”.

All I wanted to be when I grew up was a chef. I loved the whole bit: starched white jackets, big poofy hats, stainless steel everything. Once I realized that the ability to ice skate forward AND backward was a pretty important skillset to possess in order to play for the Detroit Red Wings, Chef Jeff (yeah, I know, it rhymes) Bogle was the only dream occupation I ever had. In a strange, roundabout kinda way, a chef is exactly what I became when my wife and I started a family, and even more so when I became the at-home parent 8 years ago. Never did get that crisp white jacket though. Hmph.

I’m menu planning, shopping, prepping, preparing, cooking and plating meals for my girls every single day but I also continue to scratch the culinary itch by making meals for those less fortunate in my community.

My daughters and I find joy in regularly preparing dinners for, and delivering them to, the women and children who find peace in a Philadelphia shelter. These are solid people in our greater community who could really stand for a tasty hot meal, made with quality ingredients and with love. November, being the month most everyone finds time in his or her busy schedules to give a little thanks and maybe, to do good for others when the opportunity becomes available, lends itself well to this kind of thing for my family. We try to avoid Thanksgiving week, because shelters and the like are generally (at least this is what I’ve heard) swimming with donations from do-gooders, and instead aim for early in the month, to balance out November a bit.

One of our favorite, easy to make, and easy to make a lot of, recipes involves nothing more than low sodium cream of mushroom soup, boneless & skinless chicken breast, and packages of dry stuffing mix. Made in disposable (but also reusable, if they wish) aluminum serving pans, these hearty meals are cooked in our oven and then frozen fresh to make delivering and storing a snap for the good folks who run the shelter and plan out the meals there.

Cooking for others helps me reconnect not only with the kid I was decades ago but also to the kids I have, those little people who bear an uncanny resemblance to the fresh-faced 10-year-old me.

If you and your family want to do some good in your own town this month or any time of the year, give a local shelter a call and ask if they take prepared food donations. Find out how many people you should plan on cooking for then put on some aprons or a puffy chef’s hat if you’ve got one and get to work making the world around you a tiny bit better of a place!

Thanks to Land O Lakes for helping me tell this story and for the reminder that doing good is easy if you just start small. A little act of kindness can change it all.

*OWTK is a compensated brand ambassador for Land O Lakes® this year, delivering delicious recipes to brighten up your dinner table and kid’s lunchbox this school year. All opinions express above are honest and unbiased.

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