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As hunger rises in US, so do creative ways to help

One example: Some corporations are being urged to skip their annual holiday party and donate the money to help the hungry instead.

Hot food: Manuel Souza gets a bowl of soup from a volunteer in San Jose, Calif.

Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor

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With a big spike in the number of Americans heading to food banks, people who want to help are getting creative – from corporations to state governments to individuals.

Food pantries across the country have reported a 30 percent increase in how many people are coming in for a bag of groceries, many of them for the first time. That has prompted more corporate and individual donations, but not nearly enough to meet the sudden demand. And so antihunger advocates have put on their thinking caps.

Groups like City Harvest in New York are urging corporations such as BlackRock Inc. to skip their annual holiday party and donate the money to help the hungry instead.

Dozens of yoga centers like Riverdog in Old Saybrook, Conn., are holding "Yoga for Food" events: bring a bag of groceries and get a free class.

Feeding America, the largest US hunger-relief organization, has teamed up with General Mills and NBC's show "The Biggest Loser" for a "Pound for Pound Challenge." Pledge to lose weight and for every pound you do, General Mills will donate 10 cents to Feeding America.

Even soap operas are in on it. Characters in "Guiding Light" and "The Young and the Restless" are holding V8 Juice-sponsored food drives for Feeding America.

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