Years ago I worked in a homeless shelter. To say it was a frustrating job would be an understatement. On a daily basis I saw people who could not manage to take care of themselves and their families, no matter how hard I and my coworkers tried to help them. Successes were few and far between.

One day I got a flat tire and when the tow truck driver arrived we immediately recognized one another from our time together at the shelter. It was such a great moment to hear him tell me how well things were going. I could tell that the only thing more gratifying than my feeling that somehow I had succeeded, was his feeling that the tables were now turned, and he finally got a chance–not to thank me, but to help me.

The biggest thing I miss about my job in the shelter is dinner. Oh it was mostly lousy food donated by well-meaning church groups. “Hot dish” my colleague used to say when people would ask “What’s for dinner?” But the feeling of doing good in such a direct way, by serving hungry people food was powerful. If you’ve ever served a meal to the homeless you know what I mean. Just being around people who don’t eat three square meals a day is humbling.

The fact that hunger is still an issue in America is shameful. But you can do something about it. Epicurious has put together a great program to help feed our nations neediest kids through America’s Second Harvest.

1. Go to the Epicurious party at Michael Mina on September 18th to enjoy a great meal and great company. Michael Mina was chosen as Chef of the Year in 2005 by both Bon Appetit and San Francisco magazine. See what all the fuss is about! This is a great chance to dine at Michael Mina and make a charitable contribution at the same time. The menu looks terrific!

Ahi Tuna Carpaccio
Heirloom Tomatoes, Basil Pesto

Tapioca Crusted Tai Snapper
Dried Fruit Basmati Rice, Chili Lime Vinaigrette

Duet of Beef
Roasted Fillet, Worcestershire Braised Short rib
Horseradish Whipped Potatoes

Local Strawberry Shortcake
Buttermilk Biscuit, Chantilly

2. Throw a dinner party using menus (and wine suggestions) from renowned chefs, and collect contributions from your grateful and lucky guests. Find all the details here.

3. While not nearly as much fun as the first two ideas, you can simply donate directly to the nation’s largest food bank.

Whichever you choose, enjoy the feeling of making a difference and helping out, because that is truly fulfilling.

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