This is the busiest time of the year for our food shelf. Yesterday, 106 families came to get food before the holiday. It will likely be busy today too. Thanksgiving is all about sharing food with family. Thanks to a generous community, we are able to help keep our neighbors from going hungry during the holidays and throughout the year.
People who never expected to need help feeding their families are coming to us in desperation. One man came in for the first time with his wife and daughter. It was obvious they had never been in a food shelf before, they were confused and embarrassed to be there. The father had recently lost his business and they had exhausted all their resources. It was painful for our volunteers to see how terrible this family felt about asking for help. We can't fix their financial situation, but we can give them hope by providing food, and give them comfort in knowing that people care.
Thanksgiving is the best of times and the worst of times for those of us who provide food assistance. Thankfully, we have enough food to provide for the thousands of people who need us. But the numbers of people in need are growing so fast we worry that we can't keep up with demand. Many food shelves have seen increases of 10 to 20% over last year. Providing that much more food is challenging. Helping all the people is hard physical work, but the "thank you's" and hugs are so rewarding.
When I look around my family table tomorrow, I'll be thankful that we are together and that we have the resources to provide for our needs. I'm thankful that we live in a country and a community that cares. And I'm hopeful that the future will bring change so that we can all survive and thrive in this great country.