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Famine to Feast hosts fundraiser for locals

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By The Staff

Famine to Feast, a local charity run by Los Alamos County residents Jaret and Jen McDonald, is looking to help local families with its second-annual, countywide, “Secret Santa” project.

According to Famine to Feast’s lead volunteer, Tonya Sprouse-Mullins, from now until Dec. 21, residents can donate food, toys, warm clothing, and other items anonymously to help their neighbors in need.

Residents can contact Famine to Feast through its website or app. Staff will then come and pick up the items, and deliver them to a specific address, or to the charity of choice.

People who donate will be filling a real need, Sprouse-Mullins said.

“The sad thing is that these wish lists, they are not for things like an Xbox… it’s for things like pajamas, blankets, things like that,” she said. “One boy wanted a $90 gift card for AutoZone to buy a part for his car so he could find a job and help his mom.”

Famine to Feast is also trying something new this year. Called “Adopt-a-Family,” the organization is also matching donors with families in need. They have one more family to go.

The idea is to help a family that has a particular want and need. Through its extensive work with Compassion to Action and other groups, Famine to Feast finds families that have gone through hard times this year. The organization matches families up with donors who have the resources to help them. Donors could help with anything from that special gift a child’s been wanting to helping with something as basic as utility bills.

The Adopt-a-Family idea came from Famine to Feast volunteer DeAnna Huey. Though she grew up in Los Alamos, she spent some time in Missouri as a social worker, working with families.

When Huey moved back to Los Alamos, she and her family decided to adopt a family in need for Thanksgiving. They ended up adopting three families.

The experience turned out to be a win-win for the Hueys and the families they reached out to help.

“My boys learned a lesson in helping others and these families were absolutely ecstatic and thankful for the help they received,” she said.

Huey said there are plenty of families in Los Alamos County that could use help.

“What I’ve discovered is, we think that Los Alamos is such a prestigious place to live and work, where everybody can afford everything, but that is far from the truth,” she said. I was very fortunate growing up in Los Alamos. I pretty much had everything. But, there are just so many families here that go without,” Huey said.

Famine to Feast started a couple of years ago when the McDonalds found themselves throwing out food from a vacation rental that could have easily gone to a local food bank if they had the time. When they got back home to Los Alamos, they started “Famine to Feast,” which matches people who have too much food and other items with those who don’t have enough.

They developed an app (available on Android and Apple), and a website where donors can arrange for someone to come by and pick up their donation.

Famine to Feast is a 501(c)3 organization and can be found at faminetofeastnow.org.

It can also be reached at 672-3375.