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Women smiling outside of a pineapple cooperative in Rwanda.
By
Natalie Jacobsen
Photo Credit
Aurelie Marrier d'Unienville/Oxfam

During the holiday season, many of us reflect on the past year, noting the highs and lows, reassessing the quality of our work and lifestyle. We adjust habits, resolving to live with purpose and expand our horizons, often in the ways we treat others.
 
With a greater emphasis on positive social behaviors, companies and their employees can also look for holistic ways to give back and create change during this time. Often this includes giving to charity and volunteering, but there are also lifestyle changes we can implement to make a real difference. 

Global Impact’s charity partner, Oxfam America, whose mission is to end global poverty, emphasizes the collective power our individual choices can have on the world. Many small-scale habits can create a large-scale impact when adopted by an entire office or community. Fresh approaches toward food and new ways to reduce waste can significantly contribute to long-term solutions to end poverty, eliminate hunger and preserve our environment. 

As we celebrate the holidays, which often center on sharing foods and giving gifts, let’s consider some ways we can tweak our traditions during this season and extend those new habits all year long. 

Fight hunger from your kitchen table (or office kitchenette)
These mini steps can lead to a cleaner, healthier life in a way that also doubles as giving back to our world, supporting the environment, reducing food insecurity and transforming into a lifelong advocate of eating “for good.”

  • Shop local. Visit farmer’s markets and buy foods directly from the source. This practice ensures that the foods you’re eating are seasonal and richer in nutrients. It also reduces the environmental impact of transporting foods long distances. BONUS TIP: BYOB (bring your own bag) and help reduce single-use plastics.
  • Meal planning. Not only does advance planning help reduce food waste because we are more likely to buy only what we need, but it also simplifies the question of “what’s for dinner?” and often helps us eat healthier, less processed foods. So it’s a win-win-win!
  • Meatless Monday. The idea of eating plant-based foods one day a week has become somewhat of a trend – and we are here for it! Since growing vegetables and beans uses less water and land than raising animals, eating less meat helps the environment. Join this movement on any day of the week that suits your schedule. Once you get the hang of it, maybe you can even extend the habit to other days.  

Looking for more ways to eat for good? Check out Oxfam’s full list of tips for sustainable eating and shopping

Inspire change in the workplace.
Employee engagement offers another great opportunity to have an impact. Whether your program is well established or your office is just starting to think about ways to engage employees for good, here are some ways to jump-start the brainstorm on activities that give back. 

  • Host an experiential engagement event. Oxfam’s hunger banquet is a unique way to educate employees about hunger and bring poverty to life. Global Impact can help your organization arrange a hunger banquet or other experiential office activity. 
  • Reduce environmental impact. Your office may already have a recycling system, but you can also take steps to reduce waste within the workplace. Stock the office kitchen with real dishes and silverware. Offer filtered water for employees to fill their reusable bottles. Encourage digital collaboration and limited printing. These little changes can make a big difference when embraced by large groups of employees who, ideally, transfer the habits into their home life as well. 
  • Pass it on. Plan an activity for employees and their families to learn together about lifestyle changes and giving back. We’ve seen success with this on observance days or take your kid to work day.) When giving back becomes a family and community practice, the impact will benefit generations to come. 

Don’t leave positive social change up to others in 2020. Join Oxfam in the fight against hunger by forming new habits to “eat for good” and capitalize on opportunities in the workplace to give back and make a difference. Let’s change lives of those in need by implementing changes in our very own lives from the kitchen to the office.  
 


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