Tag Archives: Hope for Dinner

Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit…


Happy Food Shelf Friday!

Last week I posted about Hope for Dinner, and this week I’m piggy backing on that post with some recipes and information to help us all prepare for next week’s rice and beans dinners.

Rice is the most universally known and consumed food in the world. It’s a grain, so a good source of cheap calories. It provides the body with carbohydrates and fiber. Brown rice is the same plant as white rice, just as wheat flour is the same plant as white flour, but the brown rice is less processed than the white and therefore retains more of the fiber you get from whole grains.

Beans are another of the world’s common staple foods. The name “beans” covers a whole bunch of different legumes. Beans are low in fat, high in fiber, and a good source of protein and minerals like iron and folate. Vegetarians and people who cannot afford much meat benefit greatly from beans because they provide those hard-to-find nutrients that most of us get from meat.

Rice and Beans, in one form or another, is a staple dish around the world. The varieties of beans and the seasonings may vary, but overall this dish is familiar and available in most of the world. It’s also cheap. Last year my family participated in Hope For Dinner, and we found Venture’s estimate that rice and beans will save $4 per person per meal to be pretty accurate. Our nutritional needs were met, we found some recipes that have become regulars on our menu, and we gained awareness (in a small way) of what it’s like for the poor of the world to eat the same thing day in and day out.

If you can’t stomach rice and beans, you can still participate!
– Swap your dinners for a week for Food Shelf Friday dinners
– Go meatless for the week
– Stay out of the grocery store for a week and eat only what you have on hand
– Pick another cheap meal, like meatless spaghetti, to eat all week
– Give up coffee shop treats or fast food

If you’re ready to join us for a week of rice, beans, awareness, and hope, check out my Hope for Dinner board on Pinterest. It’s full of rice and beans recipes you can try. Last year our menu included:
– 1 box of Zatarans Red Beans and Rice for the boys, and a Weight Watchers Smart One Santa Fe Rice and Beans meal for me on a day when I had to be at class after work.
Cheesy Rice and Beans from the Cheese Pusher blog
Best Ever Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Lime Rice from the Iowa Girl Eats blog
Panda Express Copycat Fried Rice from Food.com

This year I have a bunch of recipes pinned, and I’ll be deciding on a menu this weekend. Additionally, I’m looking for hands-on things my family can do during this week of awareness to expand our impact. We might pack meals at Feed My Starving Children, drop off some food at a food shelf, help sort and organize at the church’s food shelf, plan a food drive at work, etc. There are lots of great ideas, I just have to juggle them with J’s schedule as he has started the ski season.

Lots of great things we can discuss in the comments: recipe links, hands-on involvement, alternatives to rice and beans, etc. Let’s have a conversation! Leave a comment!

Hope For Dinner 2015

Hope for Dinner

In poking around for information this week, I ended up finding a new favorite verse:

Isaiah 58:6-9
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”

I don’t practice literal fasting – the principle of skipping a meal (or meals) to dedicate yourself to prayer – very often. Honestly, I become a total crab, and I don’t find that fasting from food creates any more space in my day to devote to prayer. It’s much more effective for me to fast from social media or TV – things that I usually waste time on. But this verse was eye opening for me. It reminds me of a famous quote from Gandhi, who said “live simply so others may simply live.” That’s the kind of fasting I can really get behind!

And that’s the idea behind Hope For Dinner.

For the week before Thanksgiving (November 16-20 this year), our entire church and families across the country will be trading their normal evening meals for simple rice and beans. Every evening. All week. Hope for Dinner (a fundraising arm of Venture Expeditions) says that by having rice and beans for dinner the average American family saves $4 – per person – per meal. So for my family of 3 that’s $12 per dinner times 5 days equals $60. It might not sound like a lot, but Venture, whose overhead is donated so that every penny coming in can go to feeding the hungry, can take $60 and turn it into 600 meals for starving children in some of the world’s hardest to reach areas.

I posted briefly about Hope for Dinner last year, too, and included some different ways that you can participate even if rice and beans is not your thing. Participating in Hope for Dinner last year was one of the inspirations behind my family’s weekly Food Shelf Friday. Another friend of mine feeds her family rice and beans every Monday night so they can start their week with awareness of how many people around the world live. It’s a beautiful kind of fast that loosens the chains of injustice and unties the cords of the yoke…feeds the hungry and provides for the poor.

Please join us in having Hope for Dinner this year! You can send your savings directly to Hope for Dinner via their website, so give it through Riverdale Church or Emmanuel Christian Center with the envelope and/or check memo marked “Hope for Dinner.”