Longtime T&D readers will be surprised not to find some classic reading in this space today. A Christmas Eve tradition has been to republish one of the most famous editorials associated with the season, “Is There a Santa Claus?”

More popularly known as, “Yes Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus,” the editorial from The New York Sun of Sept. 21, 1897, was written by Francis Pharcellus Church, an assistant editor, in response to an 8-year-old girl’s query about Santa.

It is must reading at this time of year and readers today won’t be disappointed. The editorial is included as part of our Christmas Greetings special section.

In the spirit of the generosity and caring embodied by Santa Claus, we are today focusing on another aspect of the Christmas season: the wealth of food on the tables of so many.

It's all too easy to waste food around this time of year when eating routines are all over the place. This year, don’t toss your holiday leftovers.

Food is the No.1 item thrown away by Americans, accounting for 21.6 percent of the nation's waste in 2014, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. South Carolina produced over 600, 000 tons of food waste in fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016).

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, S.C. Department of Commerce and S.C. Department of Agriculture have joined in a campaign to reduce food waste.

Don't Waste Food S.C. is aimed at educating and empowering individuals, businesses and communities to take action by preventing, composting or donating surplus food. The campaign is working toward a goal of reducing food waste in the state by 50 percent by 2030.

The partners are working together to connect food surpluses to those in need, enhance infrastructure for composting and educate consumers, communities and businesses.

This holiday, all are encouraged to join the effort.

Send your guests home with leftovers in a reusable container. This not only helps clean out your fridge but it also keeps you from being stuck with a fridge full of leftovers that could go bad before you can eat it all. But make sure that your guest does not waste their leftovers too. It's also helpful to allow self-serving so each person fixes the right amount of food that he or she can consume without throwing it out.

If you've tired yourself out from creating new recipes with your leftovers, try feeding people instead of landfills. One in eight Americans struggle with hunger -- including nearly 800,000 South Carolinian's -- according to Feeding America. Food donation is a great way to provide surplus food to those who need it while recycling your leftovers.

If you cannot donate or reuse your leftovers, try composting. Sending food waste to a composting facility or composting at home can improve soil health and structure, increase water retention, support native plants and reduce the need for fertilizers and pesticides.

There are options to avoid sending things to the state's landfills – if people will take the time to care and share.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”


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