FAIRFIELD, Conn., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- February 1 marks the beginning of "Brown Bag It For Haiti" week, when teenagers nationwide pledge to pack a school lunch instead of buying one, and to donate their lunch money to feed hungry kids in Haiti or closer to home.
The teen Web site Cooking Teens (www.CookingTeens.com) created the campaign as a way to unify teenagers who want to help Haiti in a big way, albeit a little at a time, following the earthquake that leveled parts of Haiti on January 12. Cooking Teens joined forces with Save the Children, which welcomes $10-donations via cell phone text, the communication of choice for many teens. (Text the word SAVE to the cell number 20222 and a $10-donation will be added to your phone bill.)
"Many teenagers are active in their communities, but sometimes you need that extra push to take action," said Alison Kirsch, a high school junior in Fairfield, CT, and Cooking Teens reader who plans to pack her lunch and text a donation. "This is an easy way to make a difference."
Kirsch said her classmates spend anywhere from $2.50 to $5 for school lunch each day. Like many highschoolers, they pay by swiping a card that debits an account, instead of reaching into their pocket for cash. "It's really easy to not realize how much you're spending, and that that bag of chips is $1.25," Kirsch said.
Saving money is one reason Kirsch prefers to bring a bag lunch to school. Another is because she's environmentally conscious and can't stand the waste generated by all that packaged stuff. Third, she wants to ensure that what she's eating will fuel her well during the day.
"I bring healthier things than I would buy," she said. Her favorite lunches are "big leftovers from dinner" that she transforms into sandwiches or wraps, or combines with fruit or carrots or cheese. Teens like Kirsch will post recipes and photos of their favorite brown bag lunches on "Brown Bag It For Haiti"'s Facebook event page, http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=266830261725&ref=ts
Cooking Teens is the only daily food site featuring free recipes, food news, fun videos and tips each day for teenagers and their families. For "Brown Bag It For Haiti," the site features options from quick and easy roll-ups to leftover-makeovers to beautiful bento boxes. From the site, readers can donate directly to Save the Children's Haitian relief programs. Or they can input their ZIP-code into Feeding America's interactive map and find the foodbank nearest to their home.
"Teenagers are definitely driven and motivated, and some passion to help a cause can come out of that," said Kirsch. "We all want to, and need to, give back, and this is a great way to do it."