I donâ€™t know what hunger is. There have been times where I have wanted to eat, and may have considered myself as hungry, but I was easily able to grab that bite and easily toss it back with a nice glass of scotch. I donâ€™t know what aching hunger is; I donâ€™t know what itâ€™s like not knowing where my next meal will come from. There are times in which I will mope around the kitchen and complain that there is nothing to eat, but I can get in the car and drive to the grocery store and get healthy choices. I do not rely upon the corner store, though I could, as living in the suburbs the corner store is a food co-op with nothing but organic foods and craft beers and homemade baked goods. Iâ€™m lucky â€“ and Iâ€™m thankful for it.
The statistics on hunger are troubling. One in six Americans struggle with hunger â€“ a total of 49 million of us. Many of those who deal with being unable to feed their family come from the working poor, those who live below poverty but still have a job, sometimes more than one. Households led by women where more than twice as likely to be among the working poor. Â Poverty, with hunger as one of its symptoms, isnâ€™t just limited to big cities and poor neighborhoods. Anyone can struggle with finding food.
Anyone who took health class in high school understands how important food is. Itâ€™s the fuel we need to run. Just like you canâ€™t run a car without power, you canâ€™t live without eating. Children who have good nutrition in the first three years of their life have an advantage in life. It can literally affect their physical as well as mental health, academic achievement and their social and economic contributions. Children who struggle with hunger are less likely to do well in school. They must deal with issues of depression, fatigue and may even have problems concentrating.
So how does this tie into Thanksgiving? While hunger is certainly a year round problem, it seems more strongly felt this time of year. While people are buying large turkeys and stuffing themselves with pumpkin pie, there are millions of Americans who cannot afford to feed their starving children. Thanksgiving originated as a harvest festival, until Abraham Lincoln solidified the date to bring the troubled union closer together and it became a national holiday. It seems to make sense to help those who have not while we who live comfortably prepare for a feast, and the Black Friday shopping that follows. If you have a job and can afford food, thatâ€™s great. So many people cannot find a job because there are none, or work two or more jobs and are unable to support their families. Communities across the country air PSAâ€™s to educate locals on how and where to go to food banks, only to have those people show up to empty shelves.
Itâ€™s not hopeless though, and you are the reason why. Your generosity has power to help. Ode to Awe has set up a virtual food drive where you can donate to feed people nationwide. Feeding America is a not-for-profit, the leading domestic hunger-relief charity, that advocates, supports food banks â€“ stationary and mobile â€“ and provides disaster relief for those areas stricken with unfortunate natural disasters. A few clicks and you will have given money to feed a family. Even one dollar can buy eight meals! Thatâ€™s eight full tummies where there might have been none. You can get involved at your local food bank if you want to volunteer your time. Check http://feedingamerica.org/foodbank-results.aspx to find one nearest you. And itâ€™s not just about handing out food â€“ many food banks spend time educating the community of its own specific hunger problems. My own personal motto is to buy for two. When I do my grocery shopping, I buy two of each non-perishable item. Your local food bank is the best source to find out whatâ€™s needed the most. Another idea is to make a game of your food donation shopping. Go extreme couponing to see how much you can save and still bring a bundle to your local food bank. You can even compete with your friends to maximize the donation. Keeping it to the things needed is best; a hastily organized donation can stress a food bank.
So ladies and gents, click here and help some folks this Thanksgiving. Be thankful for what you have, but know there are those who donâ€™t have enough to even get by. Be generous to them. If a society is judged on how it treats its meekest members, then letâ€™s be a kind society in which no one knows hunger.