Hunger And ThanksgivingNovember 20th, 2009
The savory aromas gathering for days; the friends and relatives visiting, the Macy’s Parade and Football on TV … the contentedly full belly and turkey enhanced deep sleep; and the leftovers! Ah the leftovers, stuffing and turkey soup, potatoes, pies, and cranberry sauce … I’ve been among the fortunate, for many years of my lifetime, to expect and enjoy this description of late November.
Unfortunately, there have always been those who are not able to count on such celebrations & fare. And as we know, that number–not only for Holiday meals but for any meal, is dramatically on the rise. Just this past Tues, Nov. 17th, the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer featured a story “More Americans Facing Hunger.” The US Dept of Agriculture has issued new findings of a 14.6% increase in the number of Americans having trouble putting enough food on the table between 2007 and 2008: that’s 50 million people, one in every 7 American households!
Sadly, hunger is nothing new. St. Anthony Dining Room has been serving meals for almost 60 years, but the increase in numbers of those being served is a very strong and visible call for renewed efforts to address the shortfall in resources and in access to them. The wonderful benefactors of St. Anthony Foundation–those donating their time and their treasure, continue to “come to the table” to serve and to offer their utmost and to share in the exchange of giving and receiving.
I remember a time not so long ago in my own life, when Mother Teresa of Calcutta said that America experienced not so much material poverty, as it did spiritual. I don’t think we could find many folks today who know that material poverty has “gained ground on the American landscape”. There’s no question that we long to see and that we work together, not only to address this change, but to reverse it.
Over this past decade especially, my experience of Thanksgiving has been quite different than those earlier years, and perhaps it has become in some sense more in keeping with “the legend” at least, of the original Thanksgiving: the celebrating, the sharing, that insures not only survival, but that cultivates community. To all of our wonderful benefactors–volunteers, donors, guests, clients, staff, friends, and family, bless you for keeping the “Giving” in thanks. And for doing that not only during the Holiday Season, but every single day.