“It is our moral obligation to give every child the very best education possible. In order to learn, children need to be nourished. The Lunchbox Fund ensures that ever child is equipped to embrace the future and change it for the better.” — Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Chances are, if you're reading this, you ate breakfast this morning. Maybe a latte and a scone on the way to work, and (if you're anything like me!) you're probably already thinking about lunch. Eating three meals a day is a no-brainer for me, and I seldom stop to think just how blessed I am to have this as my reality.

That's not the case for much of the world. In South Africa, 65% of children live in poverty, and nearly 20% of them are orphans (many of whom have lost parents as a result of HIV and AIDS). [Source: The Lunchbox Fund.] For many of these children, their only meal per day is served at school - that is, if they go. I don't have kids yet, but it breaks my heart to think of any child going hungry, especially when I am surrounded by so much abundance.

When my fellow food blogger and friend Nicole asked me to join in the "Feed a Child, Nourish a Mind Campaign" today, I was stoked. Hearing about poverty so far away can seem abstract if there's not a direct way to help. She told me about The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization that provides daily meals for extremely poor and at-risk school South African children. (Check out this inspiring video to see more about what they're doing.) Because the meals require children to be in the classroom to receive it, they are not only receiving the nutrition they desperately need, but they're receiving an education that will help them reach their full potential.


Thanks to Nicole, I am joining a slew of other food bloggers today to donate our posts to raise awareness for The Lunchbox Fund, and to encourage you all to contribute a little something to help a South African school child receive a free school lunch every day for the next year. To put it into perspective: for just $10 (the cost of a sandwich in NYC) you can pay for 1 child to have a healthy school lunch for roughly 10 weeks. ($50 would cover the cost of a year's lunches for a child.) The ultimate goal this week is to raise $5000, which will provide 100 students with lunches every day for a year. I'm donating $10...can you consider doing the same? (Click here to donate.) And if you can't contribute financially, can you help spread the word via social media? It's cool to think that with a little action from each of us, we can really make a big impact in these kids' lives.

Given that today's theme is lunch, I wanted to share with you a recipe for my go-to, simple lunch: toast. I know that toast is generally considered a breakfast food, but I love putting savory toppings on it for lunch. (I suppose you could also call these tartines, because they're really just open-faced sandwiches.) I like to start with a good, grainy bread, then I slice it, toast it, and top each slice with either mashed avocado (with a little lemon, olive oil, sea salt, and red pepper flakes) or fresh ricotta drizzled with olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. From there, the sky's the limit: I just add whatever's in the fridge (be it prosciutto and arugula, smoked salmon and lemon, etc). Some of my favorite toppings are listed below, but you can really add whatever you like.

(Photos by Signe Birck)