Simple acts of Thanksgiving…it couldn’t be easier!


Sometimes there really is a fork in the road!

 Are you familiar with the term guerilla art? Maybe you prefer street art, but we’re talking about when an artist anonymously leaves a work of art in a public place, and usually somewhere unauthorized.

The 18-foot tall wooden fork  started out as a joke between friends. In November of 2009 Ken Marshall, a local man, created the fork for his friend Bob Stane’s 75th birthday in response to their on-going joke that the intersection needed a fork to mark its distinctive split.

At first it wasn’t allowed to stay on California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) property, but the public applied pressure for the popular “utensil” and it now stands tall and proud.

This past weekend “Fork Plaza” was the location for a Thanksgiving food drive, “Put the Fork in Hunger.”

A food drive brought people out to contribute canned goods and beverages to supplement the “Biggest Potluck in the Nation.”  For over 30 years, Pasadena’s Union Station Foundation has sponsored the annual Thanksgiving Dinner-in-the-Park, providing a warm meal to more than 7,000 low income or homeless, senior citizens, and those alone for the Holidays.

The Fork Foundation collected food items to supplement the more than 150 turkeys and approximately 5,000 pounds of potatoes that will be served one week from today.

I love the way a joke between two friends has grown into the symbol for a reputable charitable foundation supporting other programs addressing hunger in our community.

Contributing to local food drives is just one very easy way to make a difference in any community.  And it’s an easy thing to do. But there are even easier ways to share with others.

Have you noticed the labels on Heinz Ketchup?

Over 650 million bottles of Heinz Ketchup are sold around the world in more than 140 countries, with annual sales of more than $1.5 billion.

The Wounded Warrior Project raises awareness and provides aid for the needs of injured service members through direct programs and services.

If you take just one quick minute you can do a little more? Click here!   For every e-card sent to a Veteran, Heinz will donate $1.00 to The Wounded Warrior Project. You can even designate the card to a Veteran you know personally. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

I have already sent several cards. I’ll have to take Heinz at their word that donations are flooding in to this worthy agency. When something is this easy I can be a little suspicious!

Although I’m not really a “ketchup person,” I always have some Heinz ketchup on-hand. I have learned that some people need their Ketchup, and I need to keep it in my refrigerator for guests.

Even though I’m recommending you purchase Heinz for the benefit of the Wounded Warrior Project, there are still times when you might want something a little special.

Chicago John happened to post a homemade ketchup recipe that turned my head today! This is a ketchup I would enjoy! It might not be as easy as buying a plastic bottle at the grocery store, but it sure looks like it would be worth the effort.

Go to From the Bartolini Kitchens  and see if it doesn’t make you think twice about what REAL ketchup should look like.

Let’s take advantage of the Thanksgiving season to share a little more with others. Be creative! And while you’re at it, encourage others to do the same. Spread a little food for thought!
Bob Hope said, “If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.”

49 thoughts on “Simple acts of Thanksgiving…it couldn’t be easier!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the story behind the Fork in the Road, Tilly. It ought to be that we showed as much concern for others year round, and I think people do try very hard to extend their compassion whenever they can. But at Thanksgiving time in the U.S. I think people do it very well. There is at least a lot of coordinating projects that do a lot of good! :-)

    • We do two Thanksgivings in our home, Claire. The “main event” is next Thursday, but a week from today we do “Thanksgiving 2″ which includes all the leftovers and anyone who couldn’t be with us on Thursday and a few who just want to return. LOL! We started that many years ago for the convenience of those who had to make choices about which family they visited on the big day. I think for some of us “Thanksgiving 2″ is almost the preferred day now! :-)

  1. I LOVE that fork in the road and I especially love the cause it gave birth to! We’re heading over to that ketchup recipe right now – yes, homemade things take longer, but we think it’s worth it, especially to avoid all the chemicals companies tend to add. We make almost everything from scratch here at Casa Daisy. :)

    • What did you think of John’s ketchup? It’s rather spectacular, don’t you think? :-) I went for years making most everything from scratch, then went a number of years where convenience took over, and now I’m back, too! My primary purpose is wanting to follow a healthier dietary plan, but I also realize that the more I do cook and bake using my own ingredients and “following the trail” of where the ingredients come from, the more I find I enjoy it. “Casa Daisy” sounds like a wonderful home! :-) I hope you’re finding your way back to some normal routines? I’m sure it’s going to take some time. oxo

    • I just checked out your friend’s website and the wonderful sauce! A straight from South Carolina BBQ sauce…yum! I might have to think about some of that for Christmas presents. I have a lot of cooks in the family. Thanks for sharing about that. One of the things I’m going to try to do this year is buy from small businesses wherever possible. I’ll have to let you know what I do! :-)

  2. I just love the fork,Debra. Thank goodness the authorities let it remain there. The Heinz project looks like a brilliant idea and I hope it raises a lot of money. Sadly there is an increasing need for food-banks here in the UK too, though the focus for charities to make a festive meal for the homeless is on Christmas here.

    The ketchup recipe looks wonderful and I shall have a go when we’ve finished the ketchup already in the fridge.

    • The homeless population in the greater Los Angeles area is HUGE, Perpetua. It’s easy to understand. Our weather is so mild year round that sleeping on the street is at least not as life threatening as it would be in a colder climate. The Union Station Foundation does so much good. For a good many years I was in a position I could volunteer there and worked one day a week in the kitchen. I hope one day I can do that again, but there are other ways to contribute. They also do a big feast in the park on Christmas, too. I don’t know the numbers, but I’m sure there are thousands of people who contribute to the food drive. Sadly the needs are year round, not just at holidays, but I admire the work they do! And the giant fork is such a great symbol! :-)

    • Don’t you love that FORK, Charlie? Such creativity! And it’s rather amazing that it’s been allowed to remain. The bureaucracy is notoriously inflexible! But somehow others bought into the whimsy! I love that! :-)

  3. A fork in the road . . . what a great piece of street art. Glad that it’s symbolic stance is a gathering point for a food drive. We’re having a “Stuff the Bus” food drive in this area to collect food for the food bank.

    The recipe for homemade ketchup looks delicious.

  4. I really like your call for sharing during thanks giving. I will try to figure out a way I can do it locally. Unfortunately buying Heinz products won’t do it for me, since I am very critical to this multi billion and as I see it quite aggressive producer. On the other hand it’s really fun to read about the fork and what it has resulted in.

    • Otto, I absolutely always enjoy hearing from you. You offer perspectives that i often lack, and you’re very clear and congruent in your life choices. I really admire that in you, and at the same time feel challenged to consider my own values from different angles. This is one of those times again. You have a valuable voice, so I’m grateful you take the time to read and comment.

  5. Now, that’s a fork in the road. It is truly amazing how an “inside” joke between two friends can become a public service to so many. Thank you for this post, Debra. I do use ketchup in a few things, always have some around, so will follow through.

    On the day all the computers around me weren’t working, the library, one of the spots, couldn’t take my 10 cent fine for an overdue book, but, asked me to contribute one can for the local food pantry. A good thing to do.

    • Even our Los Angeles County Fair took canned goods as a way to lower the cost of admission! The needs around us are compiling at such a rapid rate that I can’t possibly give in a substantial way to each request, but the little things do add up, I’m sure. Your mention of the library is really a unique solution to a simple computer glitch. That was very creative problem solving! :-) Happy weekend, Penny. Hope you continue to get some rest and feel better!

    • I think John’s ketchup sounds so tasty! It did come at an opportune time for my post, but was a little funny as I also encouraged everyone to check out Heinz! Ha! The focus on sharing from our own abundance seems to be really meaningful as some of us, maybe most of us, have had to make adjustments in the last couple of years. And I have friends who are struggling just to stay “afloat” and that brings me to a place of sensitivity to sharing even more.

      This is going to be a busy weekend for me just preparing for a house full of guests next week. But it’s always a joy to gather together…I only wish we didn’t have Thanksgiving and Christmas only about four weeks apart. :-)

  6. I’ve been away from the blogosphere all day and returned to find your note in my “home.” Thank you, Debra, for your kind reference here in yours. I’ve sworn off store bought ketchup but if ever there was a good reason to break a vow, it would be in support of our wounded warriors. Thanks for passing along the info for this worthy cause.
    And, like you, I love everything about the Fork Foundation. What a novel beginning for another worthwhile cause!

    • When you mentioned last week that you were going to post a ketchup recipe I decided to hold off putting up the post. I meant what I said about not being a “ketchup enthusiast” but I loved the intention behind the Heinz project. Then while I held back on posting we heard about the food drive, and so headed over there on Sunday. It all worked out to be even better because I waited for you to post. Ha!

      I love the idea that a couple of “old guys” were having fun with pranks and then found a way to make it more meaningful to others. People can be so creative!

  7. Thanks for this. We just sent a card and shared with friends. A small gesture for a major sacrifice, but everything helps.

    And the fork in the road made for a good smile. Thanks!

    • I’m glad you passed along the ability to send an e-card through the Heinz site, Stewart. It was such a simple way to send a little money to the Wounded Warrior Project. I’m glad you liked the fork in the road…it makes me chuckle every time. The original mastermind was in his 70s…gives me a good feeling to think of him having such fun with this! :-)

  8. Dear Debra, thank you for providing that link sponsored by Heinz. I can remember during the Korean War writing to the son of one of my mom’s friends. We became pen pals and I learned what he could tell me about the war. My heart aches for the lessons that these young men and women are learning about life and death and the world they have inherited. Oh, if only we could find our way to Peace.

    • I have been listening to news reports just today of the accelerated situation in the middle east and it’s hard not to grieve. Everywhere we look there is anything but peace, Dee. I’m with you…”if only.”

      The Wounded Warrior Project is a foundation I really admire. Anything that contributes to their ability to support veterans and their families seems like a worthy effort. oxo

  9. This is so nice! Will be sharing the E-card link in a Facebook page four of us have ((besides our personal pages) where we share good news or anything that inspires and helps.

  10. Love your fork in the road. I saw your comment to Claire…we enjoy two Thanksgiving meals as well. We are invited to spend the actual day with friends each year but we like turkey sandwiches with dressing so I cook a small turkey and the trimmings before Thanksgiving for the leftovers. I hope you will have a wonderful holiday.

    • I hope you enjoy your two Thanksgivings, Karen. I just learned today that we will have six more guests on Friday…the ever expanding leftovers? LOL! We do keep it very informal, so it isn’t as much work as it could be. I enjoy it all…and then I’m glad when it’s over! :-)

  11. I’m a ketchup fan so this post was right up my alley. I will go to Heinz and do my bit to support our injured vets… They need our attention and care. TY Debra! ;-)

    • Isn’t that fork the greatest surprise? I think that it is in Pasadena makes it even more fun. Pasadena is usually quite a stickler for “the rules!” But we do need artists for just as you say, fresh perspectives. And art in itself lifts us up and can breathe a little life into our sometimes weary souls! :-) I think of how much fun I’ve had with just a fork! Hahaha! Thank you so much for stopping by!

    • Thank you, Rommel! I so deeply admire these “old guys” who were simply playing pranks on each other and then took “The Fork” into an entirely different arena for the benefit of others. I really admire people who can think beyond their own noses! :-)

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