Host of the Rachael Ray Show and author of countless cookbooks and entertaining guides, Rachael Ray‘s most recent project was teaming up with Dunkin’ Donuts and the Soldier’s Angels program, which sends letters and care packages to soldiers stationed overseas.

How did you become involved with Soldier’s Angels?

Rachael: Dunkin’ Donuts, said, “Hey listen we want to do something for the holidays. What about Soldier’s Angels?” And I said, “That’s so great.” For those people, they are so far from home, it’s the holidays. To see that America hasn’t forgotten about them and cares. All the little cards that people are going to fill out and put into those care packages — I mean imagine that!

When you are filling out the cards, you just feel good.

R: Yeah! You just feel good. You are sending a hug to people who really need one in a really horrible awful time.

Do you have any Christmas shopping or cooking tips?

R: I think the best gifts that you can give anyone are gifts that give back. [Soldier’s Angels] is a great example. I’m also really into pit-bull rescue because I have one. I am really into what the ASPCA does and North Shore Animal League. I really like Heifer International, which is an organization that donates animals to communities in need. You can literally give a heifer, a water buffalo, or a gaggle of geese to struggling communities around the world so that they can prosper and farm, feed and fund themselves. It’s like the old adage “You give somebody a fish you feed them for a day, you teach them to fish you feed them for life.”

Then there’s our Yum-o organization, if you are really into cooking and you want to support kids. We feed hungry children and fund cooking education and scholarships.

I also like to give things in the names of my friends. Then they get a little card in the mail that says, “Rachael Ray made a donation in your name to XYZ.” I think that’s a neat way to give back.

Food is a great gift to give too! Make whatever your specialty is and give it to a neighbor or somebody who waters your plants or watched your kids or your dog for ya! Make them a lasagna. It is as easy as that!

Interview by Derek Ivie

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