Thanksgiving is a time to express our gratitude for all the good gifts from God. I encourage every one of us to remember that not everyone will enjoy the bounties of the season. Some may not have a roof over their heads, a table to set, or food to eat. In this land of plenty, there is surely enough to go around if we would each share what we have.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 89.8% of households in the U.S. experienced food insecurity at least sometime during the year. Among that number, 3.8% (5.1 million households) had very low food security—people who ate less or skipped meals due to lack of access to food. In that same year, 12.5% of households with children were food insecure, and in about half of them, only adults experienced food insecurity as adults ate less or not at all so that their children would be able to eat. Some families had to make the difficult choice between medicine or food.
Food insecurity is a global crisis. The war in Ukraine has trade, production, and consumption of commodities in ways that keep prices high through the end of 2024, exacerbating food insecurity and inflation. High prices are driving millions more into poverty, magnifying hunger and malnutrition. According to a World Bank report, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a major setback in global poverty reduction. Now, rising food and energy prices fueled by climate shock and conflict have halted recovery.
Every community in this country has a food bank. Let us not forgive those who do not have their basic needs met. To express our gratitude, let us be about the business of giving to those in need. We have a choice to respond to reality with fear and look the other way, expecting that someone somewhere will fix the problem. Or, we can make it our personal mission to respond to the greatest needs of our neighbors with love, hope, and generosity. The Master Teacher said, “What you did to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did to me” (Matthew 25:40)