05/08/2012 09:59 am ET Updated Jul 08, 2012

Skip Lunch Fight Hunger

I'm lucky to live in New York, a city that offers so many options for lunch. I can pick up dumplings from a Midtown food truck, grab empanadas by the dozen in Spanish Harlem or get a fantastic bowl of ramen in the East Village. We have food from practically every corner of the world available at our disposal and it's amazing what a great meal you can have for under ten bucks.

But others aren't so lucky. The same ten dollars you spend on lunch is all it costs for City Harvest to feed 37 kids who are hungry. That's pretty astounding. City Harvest, one of New York City's only food rescue organizations, is once again asking us to join their 10th annual Skip Lunch Fight Hunger campaign. By donating what you or I would normally spend on lunch, you can help City Harvest to provide children and their families with good, nutritious food. Every summer thousands of New York City children who depend on school lunches may face hunger. Any donation, big or small, can help City Harvest feed the hungry. Childhood nutrition and healthy eating is a cause that is extremely close to my heart. I'm asking if you'd help me support this very worthy cause.

This doesn't mean we have to skip lunch altogether. Consider this an opportunity to enjoy the seasonal produce found at your farmer's market and make a healthy, nutritious and delicious lunch at home. Let the fresh fruits and vegetables be your guide and make something that will keep for the whole week. What will I be making? I think I'm going to start with the barley salad found in my cookbook, New American Table -- pearl and black barley are tossed with fresh cucumber, spinach, mint, pine nuts, and feta cheese to create a toothy and crunchy salad that is an ideal way to get a daily dose of your vegetables!

Here are a few more lunch recipes from Food Republic that you can make at home. Tweet me (@MarcusCooks) using the hashtag #SkipLunchFightHunger and let me know which ones are your favorite and remember to donate your lunch money to City Harvest at You'll be helping feed a lot of families and I can't think of a better cause than that.

8 Lunch Recipes