I believe in the power of dinner to cure many modern ills. I know there are few expressions of love deeper than gathering family and friends for hand-made fare, for connection and conversation.
But at your Thanksgiving feast, how joyful could you be if one or two folks around the table weren’t allowed to eat anything but bread—no roast bird with gravy, no stuffing and no warm pecan pie à la mode?
Yet that’s exactly what happens every day. Hunger lives among us. We are surrounded by those who cannot afford enough, or healthful enough, food. It has been the case for years in our well-off region but the recession has morphed a problem into a crisis.
More than 40,000 residents in the area live at or below the poverty line, according to Community Food Share. Many more are on the brink, deciding whether to pay for heat or prescriptions or food. Most are families with small children. Many are seniors.
The invisible hungry and malnourished are your neighbors. You drive by them every day. There is aid available but it’s not enough. Ultimately, the dilemma we must solve isn’t food insecurity, it’s poverty. But for now, let’s make sure everyone can eat good, nutritious food, not just calories.
Here are ways you can help:
• Drop off bags of non-perishable food at grocery stores in Boulder, Louisville and Lafayette. Take your kids to the store, give them $10, and have them fill a bag.
• Have everyone in your class, at work, in church bring in all the pennies sitting in jars at home and donate them to a food bank.
• Volunteer for the annual food drive.
• Write a check in the largest amount you can afford. The vast majority of food distributed is bought, not donated.
• Instead of quickly forgotten gifts to friends and co-workers, donate money to a food program in their name.
• Visit communityfoodshare.org.
• Help in June and September when the spotlight isn’t on hunger but the need is still great. This isn’t about guilt, it’s about the meaning of “community.” Do what you can and I guarantee that the meal you say grace before on Nov. 26 will be the most nourishing you’ve ever eaten.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
– Originally published in Yellow Scene Magazine