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Lifestyle

8 easy + tasty dinner recipes you can make out of canned goods

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Canned goods get a bad reputation—but did you know eating canned foods can actually encourage you to eat more fruit and vegetables since they're so cost-effective for families? And now more than ever mamas are finding ways to cut back on food spending (and grocery shopping) while providing delicious meals for their family.

This entire process of social distancing and quarantine is hard, but we're here to help you rediscover the benefits and convenience of canned goods, mama.

Here are eight tasty recipes your entire family will love:

1. Tuna noodle casserole

Campbells

Serves: 4

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms (or from the can)
  • 2 tbsp whole-wheat flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup mushroom broth
  • 3/4 cups lactose-free milk, such as Lactaid, plus more as needed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6- 8 oz egg noodles, cooked
  • 1 5 oz can tuna in water
  • 1/2 cup canned peas
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil in large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir until well mixed. Add the broth and 1/2 cup of the milk and whisk continuously until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Put the cooked noodles, tuna, peas, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, remaining milk and mushroom sauce in a casserole dish. Mix well. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top and bake uncovered in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper, to taste.

Recipe from TheDailyMeal.

2. Marinated beans with celery and ricotta salata

Serves: 8

Total time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 15 oz cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, navy beans, and/or black-eyed peas, rinsed
  • 4 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped thyme, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 oz ricotta salata (salted dry ricotta), crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Toss beans, celery, oil, vinegar and 1 tbsp. thyme in a large bowl to combine. Season generously with salt.
  2. Just before serving, transfer beans to a shallow bowl and top with ricotta salata, pepper, and more thyme.
Recipe from Bonappetit.

3. White bean + spring vegetable stew

Serves: 8

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb dried large white beans (such as lima or gigante), soaked overnight, drained
  • 1 onion, trimmed, peeled, halved through core
  • 3 ribs celery, trimmed, halved
  • 1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms (about 10 large caps)
  • 8 sprigs parsley, plus ¾ cup parsley leaves with tender stems
  • 1 head of garlic, halved, plus 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling, divided
  • 3/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 bunch medium-size asparagus (about 1 lb.)
  • 1 10 oz bag frozen peas, thawed
  • 8 thick slices country or sourdough bread
  • 1 4 inch piece fresh horseradish root, peeled
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°. Combine beans, onion, celery, mushrooms, parsley sprigs, halved head of garlic, 1 tbsp. salt, 3 tbsp. oil, and 2 quarts of water in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake until beans are fully cooked, tender, and creamy through and through but as intact as humanly possible, about 1 hour, depending on the type, brand, and age of beans; start checking every 10 minutes after the first 45 minutes. (When checking beans for doneness, stir gently and taste at least 3 beans—it isn't finished until they're all tender!)
  2. Using tongs, fish out aromatics and discard. Season with salt.
  3. Under-seasoned beans are barely worth eating. Let sit on the stovetop, uncovered, until ready to serve.
  4. While beans are cooking, make your pistou and prep the vegetables and garnishes. Using your sharpest knife, finely chop mint and ¾ cup parsley leaves. (A dull knife will just mash your herbs and cause them to turn dark around the edges.) Transfer to a small bowl. Add 3/4 cup oil, grated garlic, and 1 tsp. salt and stir to combine; set pistou aside.
  5. Trim and wash radishes, then slice as thinly as possible into coins. Transfer radishes to a small bowl, cover with cold water, and chill until ready to use.
  6. Wash asparagus and trim woody stems by bending each spear near the cut end until you find the place where it wants to break naturally. Cut off tips, then cut each tip in half lengthwise. Slice now-tipless stalks crosswise into thin coins. Toss asparagus coins and tips and peas in a medium bowl; set aside.
  7. When you're almost ready to serve the stew, return beans to a gentle simmer over medium heat, taking care not to stir too much—you don't want to bust up those beans.
  8. Generously drizzle oil into a large cast-iron skillet and heat over medium until shimmering. Working in two batches, fry bread slices until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Season with salt and transfer to a plate.
  9. When beans are simmering, add reserved asparagus and peas and cook, stirring gently, until asparagus coins are barely cooked but still bright green and crunchy, about 2 minutes.
  10. Drain reserved radishes. Place horseradish root on a plate with a microplane. Bring Dutch oven full of stew directly to the table. Serve with fried bread, pistou, radishes, lemon wedges, and horseradish alongside.

Recipe from Bonappetit.

4. Spam + pineapple skewers

Spam

Serves: 6

Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the pineapple glaze:

  • 1 cup pineapple preserves
  • 2 tbspwhite wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

For the skewers:

  • 1 pineapple, peeled and cored, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 12 oz can of Spam, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Instructions:

For the pineapple glaze:

  1. To make the glaze, add all of the ingredients to a saucepan on medium until the mixture is warm; stirring occasionally.

For the skewers:

  1. Preheat your grill to medium heat.
  2. Add chunks of pineapple, Spam, and red onion to skewers, alternating until you get to the top of the skewer. Brush the finished skewers with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Grill the skewers for 10 minutes, brushing with pineapple glaze, making sure to turn occasionally so all sides can get grill marks.
Recipe from TheDailyMeal.

5. Chickpea curry with rice


Serves: 6

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 to 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 to 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • Naan bread, for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Cook the basmati rice according to the package instructions.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until the onions are dark brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the vegetable stock and stir to scrape up all the brown bits in the pan. Add the chickpeas, coconut milk, honey and a squirt of sriracha. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Warm the naan in the microwave. Serve the curry over the rice with the warmed naan. Garnish with the cilantro.

Recipe from FoodNetwork.

6. Quick + easy vegetable pot pie


Serves: 6

Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) lentils, drained
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp quatre epices (French four spice)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 sheet refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add vegetables and lentils; cook and stir until heated through, 3-5 minutes. Stir in flour until blended; gradually whisk in broth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Stir in mustard, French four spice and salt.
  2. Transfer to a greased 9 inch pie plate. Place pie crust over filling. Trim and cut slits on top. Brush with oil; sprinkle with parmesan.
  3. Bake until golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe from TasteofHome.

7. Cream of turkey + wild rice soup


Serves: 6

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 package long grain and wild rice mix
  • 2 cups diced cooked turkey
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Minced fresh parsley

Instructions:

  1. In a large saucepan, saute onion and mushrooms in butter until onion is tender. Add water, broth and rice mix with seasoning; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender.
  2. Stir in turkey and cream and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley.

Recipe from TasteofHome.

8. Penne with spicy vodka tomato cream sauce


Serves: 8

Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound uncooked penne pasta
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons vodka
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 links sweet Italian sausage

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  2. In large skillet, heat oil over moderate heat. Remove casing from sausage and add to skillet. Cook, breaking up the meat, until brown. Add garlic and red pepper and cook, stirring until garlic is golden brown.
  3. Add tomatoes and salt; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Add vodka and cream and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and add pasta, toss for 1 minute. Stir in fresh parsley and serve!
Recipe from AllRecipes.
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As a mid-Spring holiday, we never knew exactly what to expect from the weather on Easter when I was growing up in Michigan: Would we get to wear our new Sunday dresses without coats? Or would we be hunting for eggs while wearing snowsuits?

Although what the temperature had in store was really anyone's guess, there were a few special traditions my sister and I could always depend on—and it won't come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that my favorite memories revolved around food. After all, experts say memories are strongest when they tie senses together, which certainly seems to be true when it comes to holiday meals that involve the sounds of laughter and the taste of amazing food.

Now that I'm a parent, I'm experiencing Easter anew as my children discover the small delights of chocolate, pre-church brunch and a multi-generational dinner. While I still look forward to the treats and feasting, I'm realizing now that the sweetest thing of all is how these traditions bring our family together around one table.

For us, the build-up to Easter eats is an extended event. Last year's prep work began weeks in advance when my 3-year-old and I sat down to plan the brunch menu, which involved the interesting suggestion of "green eggs and ham." When the big morning rolled around, his eyes grew to the size of Easter eggs out of pure joy when the dish was placed on the table.

This year, rather than letting the day come and go in a flash, we are creating traditions that span weeks and allow even the littlest members of the family to feel involved.

Still, as much as I love enlisting my children's help, I also relish the opportunity to create some magic of my own with their Easter baskets—even if the Easter Bunny gets the credit. This year, I'm excited to really personalize the baskets by getting an "adoptable" plush unicorn for my daughter and the Kinder Chocolate Mini Eggs that my son hasn't stopped talking about since seeing at the store. (You can bet this mama is stocking up on some for herself, too.)

At the same time, Easter as a parent has opened my eyes to how much effort can be required...

There is the selection of the right Easter outfits for picture-perfect moments.

There is the styling of custom Easter baskets.

There is the filling of plastic eggs and strategic placement of them throughout the yard.

But when the cameras are put away and we all join together around the table for the family dinner at the end of the day, I can finally take a deep breath and really enjoy—especially with the knowledge that doing the dishes is my husband's job.

This article was sponsored by Kinder. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


Our Partners

Right now, we're all facing financial uncertainty that we've likely never navigated before. If your family is rethinking your strategy for spending and saving money, or if you're suddenly facing debt or financial hardship you didn't anticipate, you're not alone.

We do know people are looking for a plan forward for their finances. And as bills begin to pile up and as people begin to dip into their savings, families are looking for ways to avoid financial distress.

Here are some steps you can take to get yourself back on track if you find yourself unable to pay your bills.

1. Audit yourself to see where you stand

As a first step, and in order to get the full picture of your finances, take an inventory of all your expenses, like groceries or utilities, and any money you currently owe, like credit card bills.

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Identify any unnecessary expenses that you can cut back on for the time being, such as any subscriptions being paid automatically.

Knowing everything you owe, plus your projected expenses for the coming months will help you see where you stand, and will allow you to make a realistic plan for yourself.

2. Make a budget and prioritize only what is necessary

Now more than ever, Americans need to be extremely diligent with their money, prioritizing what matters most, like rent and other necessities. Every family's financial situation is different so it's important to make a realistic plan for your money.

To help you get back on track, create a budget for your family that you're willing to stick to. This should only include necessary expenses at this point, like rent and groceries. In order to help stabilize your finances over the long term, map out your projected expenses over the next three, six and nine months, since there's uncertainty around how long the effects of the global pandemic will be felt.

Planning for the worst is the way to stay ahead of financial problems.

3. Know every relief option available to you

Be proactive about understanding your options and take action when possible. Depending on your family's situation and expenses, there may be forms of relief available to you, so it's worth doing a bit of research to understand how you can get your debts under control. Here are some debt and financial hardship relief options to know about:

  • Your bank or credit union may be offering consumer protections and relief, including fee waivers, deferred payments for credit cards, auto loans and mortgages, loan modifications, low-rate and zero-rate loans and other accommodations. See what your bank is offering by checking this list or your bank's website, or consult this list of credit unions offering consumer financial support.
  • Call your credit card issuer. Numerous credit card companies are offering some kind of debt relief, such as waived fees or deferred payments.
  • If you're a homeowner and you're worried about making a payment, reach out to your mortgage lender. Many offer programs like mortgage forbearances that allow you to either temporarily stop making payments or temporarily lower your payments. (Again, always be sure to read the fine print so you know what you're getting yourself into, as there may be penalties to some options down the line.) Under the CARES Act, your family may be eligible for mortgage forbearance options for coronavirus related financial hardship. And because mortgage rates are low right now, refinancing might free up some financial flexibility, although the process takes time.
  • If you're a renter, speak to your landlord about your options. If your landlord's mortgage is from a federal lender, you cannot be evicted for nonpayment due to coronavirus-related hardship. This eviction forbearance, part of the CARES Act, is currently in effect through July.
  • Under the CARES Act, all federal student loans are in a state of administrative forbearance, which means you can temporarily stop making payments through the end of September, with no accrued interest. Sallie Mae, Navient and Wells Fargo are also offering temporary loan forbearance for student loans—contact your lender.
  • A number of internet companies have "pledged" not to terminate service for customers due to nonpayment caused by coronavirus-related financial hardship. Check to see if your utility companies are on this list, which includes AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon.
  • Utility companies in some areas have also announced that they will temporarily suspend service terminations for nonpayment—check your utility providers' websites or call them.
  • Unemployment insurance is available at higher rates for a longer period, and more people qualify under the CARES act, including part-time workers, freelancers, people on furlough and people who were recently laid off. If you are unable to work because your child's daycare or school was closed, for example, you are eligible for unemployment under the new provisions. And if you have been forced to accept reduced hours, you're eligible, too.

4. Keep your credit accounts current, if possible

On-time payments are one of the key pieces factored into a credit score so I'd encourage you to avoid letting bills go unpaid entirely, if you can. Instead, do some research and find out what the minimum payment is for each of your bills, and pay that, if possible. If you're unable to pay at all, call to see if there's a way to defer payments temporarily.Paying the minimum payments on your monthly bills will help you keep your credit accounts current.

5. Avoid payday loans or maxing out credit cards

Payday lenders tend to prey on those in desperate circumstances, and these loans can be the beginning of a long cycle of debt with high fees and interest rates.

Likewise, you can quickly rack up interest and fees with credit cards if you're putting more money on them that you can pay back.

Instead, if necessary, look into other options available to you such as an emergency or personal loan, which often have lower interest rates. Always read the fine print before signing anything so you understand the terms and implications.

Overall, navigating your finances during this time of uncertainty can seem daunting and overwhelming. But it isn't impossible. The key is to take the first step. Now is the time to advocate for yourself and finances.

Work + Money

Parenthood is a crash course in expecting the unexpected. But—come on. Who else has lost count of how many times the word "unprecedented" has been thrown around to describe this coronavirus pandemic?

In the span of just a few weeks, our lives have been completely shaken up and our sense of what is normal has been turned upside down...

It's unprecedented to distance ourselves from extended family members.

It's unprecedented to save grocery shopping trips for once every week or two and hope there is toilet paper still on the shelves.

It's unprecedented to have schools, workplaces, restaurants and more shuttered indefinitely.

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Yet here we are—even as mamas who are naturally experienced with rising to the challenge, this is a hard one. As we stand here today facing the enormity of the challenge ahead, it's okay if you can't help but feel overwhelmed. That's normal.

Right now, you may not be able to imagine how you will balance "non-essential" work with the very pressing responsibilities of parenting.

Right now, you may not be able to imagine how you will cope with long afternoons without your go-to outings.

Right now, you may not be able to imagine how you will answer your children's questions about why they can't see friends or family when that's all you really want, too.

Right now, you may not be able to imagine how your marriage will stay "light and exciting" as the world feels so heavy and sad.

Right now, you may not be able to imagine how you will create meaningful space for your own self-care with your physical space so confined.

Right now, you may not be able to imagine how you will fill your children's time in ways that are at once educational, creativity-boosting, stimulating and fun.

Right now, you may not be able to imagine how you will overcome the sense of isolation with interactions limited to FaceTime calls or Zoom hangouts.

But we soon will know.

Whether the shelter in place mandate is lifted by the currently scheduled date in your area or if it stretches on to a later point in time, I believe our strength will be revealed to us day by day, low point by low point and high point by high point—and there will come a day when this trial ends.

Just like past generations were called to face their own great and "unprecedented" challenges, this is ours. And although we didn't ask for it and may not have any other option but to deal with it, we still stand to learn and grow from this experience. For the rest of our lives, this is a defining moment we will look back on when we need evidence of our strength.

Because, remember this, mama: Today, we may be looking ahead and bracing ourselves. But there will just as surely come a day when we stand on the other side of this—and on that day, our anxiety will surely be replaced with accomplishment. There is light on the other side.

Life

Across the nation families are wondering how to connect with others and move with purpose during these isolated days. The urge to make a difference is powerful. Especially as we watch the impacts of this global crisis fall heavier on some than others.

Now more than ever we know that action feels better than anxiety.

Scroll down for a list of ways your family can share kindness, volunteer, donate and learn together, even as you stay home together to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Share kindness

Lift spirits, warm hearts, and teach compassion.

  1. Check on neighbors with apps like Next Door. We're hearing wonderful stories of neighbors offering to share their abundance with others who are struggling in their own community.
  2. Start a neighborhood scavenger hunt by putting hearts on your front door, teddy bears in your windows, or decorative Easter egg pictures in public spaces. When other families are out for a (socially distanced) walk, they can watch for these surprises.
  3. Chalk your walk, leaving uplifting sidewalk chalk messages like "We're All In This Together."
  4. Thank delivery providers with a gift of hand sanitizer, an encouraging note like this one or just an extra tip.
  5. Mail friendship bracelets to cheer up friends and family members.
  6. Create awards to celebrate the everyday heroes in your community, from grocery store clerks to medical staff to your mail carrier.
  7. Share your art through the mail or take pictures and share digitally. Write pandemic-themed haiku or other poetry, draw, paint, color, fold origami or explore other creative passions. Then share your creations, along with an uplifting note, with folks in need of support.
  8. Send art to Color-a-Smile and they'll send it on to seniors, soldiers overseas and anyone in need of a smile.
  9. Set up a Magic Mail Station, inviting kids to create cards for those who need it most. Share your creations with seniors in isolated nursing homes, essential employees on the front lines of fighting this virus or anyone you know in need of extra support.
  10. Reach out to the elderly with Letters of Love. The mission of Letters of Love is to bring the joy of thoughtful letters and cards into the lives of the elderly in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospices and senior centers around the world.
  11. Start a Grandparent Journal, mailing a notebook back and forth to grandparents, exploring questions and sharing encouragement.
  12. Decorate lunchbags to brighten up Meals on Wheels deliveries.
  13. Fill "Buckets" at home with these free resources (coloring pages, puzzles, book videos, lessons) from our good friend Carol McCloud, author of Have you Filled a Bucket Today? and many other awesome kindness books for kids.

Volunteer

Meet tangible community needs.

  1. Set up a Little Free Pantry, sharing extra groceries with neighbors and workers in your area. One big-hearted family we work with has been sharing staples in their driveway. Some neighbors are pitching in too! And at the end of every day, the table is nearly empty, as folks took what they needed.
  2. Support citizen science with three timely crowd-sourced science projects brought to you by Science Friday and SciStarter. Your family can help scientists track the spread of COVID, monitor changes in weather and identify drinking water quality all from your home. The following projects are particularly interesting right now:
  3. Covid Near You: Take 5 minutes each week to check in with researchers at Harvard and Boston Children's Hospital monitoring the spread of the virus.
  4. Participate in Citizen Science Month in April: SciStarter.com is celebrating all things citizen science with daily challenges. Pick your families favorite and get started today!
  5. Become an iNaturalist: Download the iNaturalist app from National Geographic and California Academy of Sciences. Join a project—which they define as a collection of observations with a common purpose. And begin your citizen science observations about the natural world!
  6. Sign Up for Nature's Notebook: This National Phenology Network project invites you to help scientists take the pulse of our planet by observing and then sharing seasonal changes in plants and animals. You may also want to explore their nature lessons to become a family of certified Nature's Notebook Observers.
  7. Spring clean yards for homebound neighbors. Some spring chores still beg to be completed. Offer help for older folks in your neighborhood.
  8. Clean up your neighborhood on your next walk outside. Grab plastic bags and garden gloves and clear up the winter refuse that may have accumulated.
  9. Go on a nature scavenger hunt with our free printable. We've gathered our favorite clues for a scavenger hunt to liven up your next walk in the woods. When children learn to appreciate and enjoy nature, they are more likely to grow into adults who value and protect our environment.
  10. Foster pets! It's puppy and kitten season, and though many shelters are closed to the public, many are still looking for foster families.

Donate

Share your abundance and teach the importance of charitable giving.

  1. Spring clean in anticipation of being able to donate gently used clothes, toys, and books to a shelter at some future date.
  2. Create a giving jar to help your child participate in your family's charitable giving. Organizations you may want to support include Family-to-Family, No Kid Hungry, UNICEF, or your local food bank.
  3. Start a garden in anticipation of donating some of the produce to your local food pantry.
  4. Host a food drive social-distance-style. Set up a drop off station in your driveway or other public space. Inform friends and neighbors of your event. Be sure to remind folks to keep their distance as they bring over their donations. Then drop off your collection at the food shelf and thank everyone for participating!
  5. Create activity kits to donate to food pantries and shelters engaging kids with extra time off.
  6. Make room for the hungry with a calendar-based fundraiser. Each day (for 30 days) count something different in your home with this simple printable. Place that many coins in a bowl or jar. At the end of the month, donate this money to a hunger relief organization.

Advocate

Raise your voice for peace, justice, and social action.

  1. Speak up for the vulnerable. Reach out to your elected official and let them know you expect them to support people who are experiencing homelessness or food insecurity at this time. These printable advocacy templates help you express support for environmental justice, helping the hungry, and more.
  2. Sign petitions to correct injustices and support people struggling through the crisis.

Learn + discuss

Start big-hearted conversations and explore big ideas.

  1. Keep a journal by recording your experience during this historic moment. You may also want to write a reflection question in your journal each day and invite each family member to record a response.
  2. Play Free Rice, an online quiz game from the World Food Program. Players match words with their meanings to earn donations of rice for those in need, now featuring a cornoavirus category.

A version of this post was originally published on Doing Good Together; it has been reposted with permission.

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Learn + Play

When I think about my son's birth, I mostly remember drifting between this world and the next. For huge chunks of the 32 hours I was in labor I felt like I was literally out of my mind, completely focused on my body as I experienced wave after wave of pressure. My husband and birth team massaged my back, encouraged me to drink water and cared for me while my body was at work.

Looking back now, I can't imagine being asked to make decisions about my safety or that of my baby while I was in that state. I certainly couldn't imagine doing it all alone, without my partner or someone to support me.

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In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, this is what several hospitals are asking of their patients. On March 20th, a doula named Jessica Pournaras in New York City started a petition asking several New York hospitals to stop banning partners from accompanying people in labor. One week later, the petition had over 600,000 signers, countless media hits and progress—New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had issued a directive requiring hospitals to allow one support person per pregnant patient.

Birth is an incredibly vulnerable state, and many of us are forced to give up a lot of power and dignity when we go through it—particularly women of color. But parents across the country know in their hearts that no one should be forced through such an intense and emotional experience without support, not even in because of the coronavirus.

Support during labor isn't just about some romanticized image of birth. Partners or support people can be present throughout labor and birth in a way that hospital staff couldn't on a normal day, much less in the middle of a pandemic. Partners can provide help with pain relief for the pregnant person, advocate for them and catch red flags to call for help sooner than nurses might.

Without this continuous support, patients are more likely to have longer labors and to require pain medications, forceps or vacuum-assisted births— possibly even increased chances of cesarean sections. A 2017 Cochrane review found that a support person can decrease the chances of a C-section by 25% relative to people without support; having a doula present decreased it by as much as 39%.

For black mothers, the need for support during birth is even greater. Black women are 2.5 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women—at least in part because of institutional racism. Take Kira Johnson, who died after what appeared to be a routine C-section. Her husband spent hours trying to get the attention of medical staff only to be told "Sir, your wife just isn't a priority right now." Kira was left to bleed internally for 10 hours.

Kira had her partner with her, and she was still ignored and mistreated. Now imagine the black, low-income or non-English speaking women who could be forced to give birth completely alone, left in the hands of overworked hospital staff. We should expect many more traumatic births, more C-sections and more deaths.

Most hospitals are now restricting pregnant patients to one support person, a compromise which seems fair given the virus we are fighting. But even after New York's statewide order, a steady trickle of hospitals across the country are beginning to ban all support persons for pregnant people. Others are allowing people to enter the hospital only when their partner is pushing or are forcing them to leave immediately after, leaving birth parents alone to heal and care for their newborn.

This asks pregnant people to sacrifice their safety and the well-being of their babies instead of implementing the myriad other solutions that have been offered. For example, partners could be screened for COVID-19 symptoms, restricted to only one room and asked to wear a mask at all times. Hospitals could support and expand birth services outside of hospital grounds, such as at birthing centers and home births.

Since Jessica won her campaign in New York, dozens more petitions have sprung up asking other state governors to require hospitals to allow birth support partners. A petition to Pennsylvania's Governor Wolf has 18,000 signatures, 13,000 people are demanding the same for Ohioans and five petitions have been started in California alone. These parents understand that abandoning people in labor is not how we keep families safe, and they are passionately fighting for safe births across the country.

For too long, people in labor—particularly black and marginalized women—have been denied agency and dignity in how they give birth. We are all scared, but as one petition commenter wrote, "Human rights and dignity cannot end in an epidemic." We must come together to protect new lives, and demand dignity for the people who bring them forward.

After my son was born, we practiced nursing, I finally managed to keep some food down (chocolate was my best medicine) and my midwife monitored me for signs of abnormal bleeding. But mostly, my partner and I gazed at the little human who had finally joined us. And within a few hours, our doula and midwives faded away, leaving us alone with our baby. Alone, but together.

Everyone had a role to play that day, and everyone had worked hard to keep me and my son safe. I'm so grateful to each and every person who was in the room with us that monumental day—and I simply want the same protection for all mothers.

(*Please note: It is important to check in with your medical provider on the latest rules and regulations surrounding hospital births during the COVID-19 outbreak.)

Life
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