Cigar Aficionado

Digging Deep

Almost everyone is feeling the pinch right now, but as the holidays come on it is important to keep in context that having to settle for VSOP instead of going for the XO Cognac isn't really roughing it. One out of eight people in America is struggling with the reality of hunger—and that doesn't mean they skipped lunch—they actually aren't sure where their next meal may come from. Hunger is a pervasive problem, affecting millions and not limited to certain areas, social groups or neighborhoods.

Even while we all are tightening our belts in reaction to the severe economic crisis that besets us, we should remember those who have it even worse. One organization that has a heritage for this kind of consideration going back almost half a century is Feeding America (, formerly America's Second Harvest). It is a hunger-relief charity that comprises a nationwide network of food banks that feed the needy with surplus food in very tangible outlets like soup kitchens.

One reason I bring this up now is that from now until November 23 there is an ongoing auction on eBay called The Give Hope Campaign that benefits Feeding America. It is a partnership with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, which itself with match donations made to Feeding America until December 31. The auction includes once-in-a-lifetime experiences, many of which include celebrities. You may bid, for instance, to have celebrity bartender Tony Abou-Ganim host your Mojito party or join Food Network Star Ted Allen for dinner at Mario Batali's Del Posto. There are also gourmet dinners at places like Craft, Bouley and Nobu and travel packages to the California wine country and the Sawgrass TPC golf course.

If you are one of the lucky ones, I urge you to think up about this discreet way to target your discretionary funds. Visit to find out more about the auction.