Menu for Hope: Battle hunger and boost your next vacation

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It's time again for the most delicious of do-good campaigns, Menu for Hope. This annual effort enlists food bloggers (full disclosure: I'm one of them) in the fight against hunger.

In recent years, the campaign has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars to support the UN World Food Programme. It has also given away some sweet prizes. Through December 25, you can purchase a single $10 ticket (or many) to bid on the prize item of your choice. Here are some that will be of serious interest to those traveling in 2010:

Heading to New York? Bid to win a two night stay in the Chelsea studio of a local food writer. Want to get out of New York? Bid to win a two-night stay at the Farnum Hill Orchard in New Hampshire, with a tour of their cider making facility. Additional items and details at East Coast Prizes.

Those going west might bid on dinner for two at Michelin 2-star restaurant Manresa, or a two-day artisan baking class at the San Francisco Baking Institute. Budding photographers bound for L.A. might bid to win a Food Styling & Food Photography Workshop with renowned shutterbug Matt Armendariz. Additional items and details at West Coast Prizes.

Visiting Europe in 2010? Those dreaming of Italy can bid to win a two-night stay at a small inn in the alps of Piedmont, a market tour and trattoria lunch in Florence, or a personalized wine tasting class in Rome. Context Travel is offering two spaces in any of its scholarly city walks; in Europe, that includes Rome, Venice, Naples, Florence, London and Paris.

A trip to Paris would also be elevated by winning a ten-course dinner for two with wine pairings at Hidden Kitchen (value $230). And if you're wondering where to eat while in Paris, I myself have signed on to be somebody's food slave, writing a tailored printable guide with recommendations based around the winner's personal taste and budget. Additional items and details at European Prizes.

These are only a fraction of the prizes being offered for your traveling and gastronomic pleasure in 2010. Visit this site to bid on any items before December 25!

ELSEWHERE...

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