A recipient at one of our food distributions recently offered to become a volunteer at the site, stating that it made him feel again like someone who was serving his country by helping others. As we approach Thanksgiving, this new volunteer and military veteran reminds us of how good it feels to allow our actions to be the expression of a grateful heart.
We who live on the central coast, where weather and terrain conspire to give us both beauty and abundance, are especially blessed. We’re small enough to work together to solve the ills that we experience. We invite you to celebrate Thanksgiving in part by helping us, along with our new volunteer, to help those in need.
Sadly, hunger is one of the ills we experience. 15% of those who live here don’t always know where their next meal is coming from. 8,000 of them are families with children. Over 6,000 are seniors. 4,000 are homeless. Many of them are hard-working in low-paying jobs to help provide the quality of life that we all enjoy.
Thanksgiving transcends all religious and political differences, bringing us together in recognition that we need one another. Each of us is hurt when someone goes hungry. Our future loses when a child doesn’t do well in school because of hunger. Medical costs go up for all when so many suffer from the consequences of poor nutrition without access to healthy food. Our fight to recover from the recession is diminished when people are unable to perform well on their jobs, or even to find jobs because the basic need for healthy food is not being met.
When you gather around your table with loved ones this year, you will know that somewhere not too far away, a family is enjoying a meal with their loved ones, too, because of you. Or a senior knows that people care, or a veteran doesn’t feel forgotten. Thank you for helping us bring joy and health to them by providing the most meaningful gift of all – friendship in the form of a healthy meal during the holidays. Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Carl R. Hansen