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My good friend Debbie over at Just Another 15 Minutes posted a challenge on her blog: to publicly give thanks for a specific aspect of our lives on each of the 30 days in November.  I am taking that challenge, and I hope you will join us!

Day 3 – I am thankful for food.

Mass food production02

Image via Wikipedia

I love food.  Food loves me.  It hangs around long after I’ve consumed it.  (You know, around the hips, the tummy, the thighs…)

Seriously, thought, I am very thankful for food.  I am thankful that my family and I have always had more than enough food to eat.  My babies have never had to go hungry because we didn’t have formula for them.  We have been able to invite visitors to our home and serve them dinner.  My pantry and freezer are usually well-stocked, and I can always find at least a few items to grab and take to a food donation bin.

There are so many other families who are not as blessed.  One’s thoughts automatically go to the people suffering starvation in Africa and other places due to famine, natural disaster, and war.  And there are wonderful organizations, like Samaritan’s Purse and Baptist Global Response, that provide aid to these areas through our generous donations.  But unfortunately, I don’t have to look any further than my own town to see the effects of hunger.

According to Feeding America, a national food bank and hunger-fighting website, “Hunger in America exists for nearly 49 million people. That is 1 in 6 of the U.S. population – including more than 1 in 5 children.”  So, if I do the math, that means that in my small town of approximately 1,700 people, at least 272 of them consistently struggle to have enough food.  And if I look at the kids in my son’s elementary school (which has over 700 students), then at least 140 of his schoolmates arrive at school hungry and go to sleep hungry.

How can we help?

First of all, take an honest look at your pantry and your grocery budget.  Do you have extra cans of soup that your family will probably not eat before the expiration date?  When you’re placing those canned veggies in your buggy, could you add at least two extra to donate? Couponing is a great way to stretch your food budget and have generous amounts to give away.

Locate a local food donation collection site.  Here in my area, the local grocery store has a donation bin by the front door.  Several community churches also have collection bins.  Make it a family event – kids love to have the special job of carrying the food and placing it in the bin!

Spread the word – let people in your community know that there is a need to help the hungry.  Share the information you’ve learned – collection bin locations, lists of the most-needed items, local food bank locations, etc.

What are you thankful for?  Do you have more ideas for helping the hungry and needy in our communities?  Share in the comments!