Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Grateful for Each Hand We Hold

Grocery stores are jammed with hunters, not those with flannel jackets but crammed shopping carts, seeking the best prices and the freshest assortment of meats and vegetable preparing for Thanksgiving. 

I’m not sure what Italian chestnuts are or just how many varieties of ‘Roastables’ are considered essential for the holiday meal, but time is tight. A week from tomorrow is Thanksgiving and there are still many serious decisions to make. Cranberries: jellied or berries?

While I'm struggling with what is truly a trivial concern, I'm somehow not seeing those around me who would trade my troubles for theirs in less time than it takes to read this sentence.

You and I pass by at least a half-dozen collection points every day where donations for those whom we call 'the less fortunate' are being assembled. One of the supermarkets I frequent allows me to purchase a package of noodles or a canned good to be included as part of a larger collection for these same ‘less fortunate.’ Sometimes when I do that, it makes me feel good but all I’m doing is bailing out the ocean with a teaspoon.

And let’s be clear: people who need our help are not some kind of an abstraction we should refer to as ‘less fortunate.’ They are human beings, flesh and blood. They are our neighbors and in some instances family and friends.

There are over 35,500 people just in New London County, here in wealthy Connecticut who struggle with food insecurity every day of the month. Food insecurity is a fancy term for ‘don’t know where our next meal is coming from.’ And while I can write the term I cannot actually grasp its meaning.

Have you ever missed a meal? How about a whole day of meals none of that by your choice but because you have no choice? Speaking of choices, food or shoes? Coats or heat? Heat or food? Every day choices for the invisible indigent, almost as many people as we have in Norwich.

This time of year and growing larger with every passing year, agencies and organizations that work with those we choose to nor see are nearly overwhelmed by requests for help.

Ask the St. Vincent de Paul Place about how many (more) hot meals they're preparing for the holidays and how many new food pantry customers they have. We can all name a church or a school organizing a winter coat drive and this is the time of the year I suspect the Connecticut Food Bank receives the largest number of donations, which is all well and good assuming hunger is a holiday thing, except it's not. It is a daily occurrence for everyday people.

This Thanksgiving when you're with friends and family enjoying the food and festivities, after the feasting please go online to perhaps the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut or find another agency someplace that is doing good and donate so they can do better.

How much should we give? Until it helps.
-bill kenny

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