Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Holiday Thought

I don’t know how many of you will sit down to a ginormous feast this Thanksgiving, but it bears remembering those whose budgets are stretched tight this year.

Because, their number is growing:
Americans' Food Stamp Use Nears All-Time High

Fueled by rising unemployment and food prices, the number of Americans on food stamps is poised to exceed 30 million for the first time this month, surpassing the historic high set in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.


"We soon will have the most food stamps recipients in the history of our country," said Jim Weill, president of the Food Research and Action Center, a D.C.-based anti-hunger policy organization. "If the economic forecasts come true, we're likely to see the most hunger that we've seen since the 1981 recession and maybe since the 1960s, when these programs were established."

I firmly believe our government has an important role to play in setting policies and funding programs to help those in need in this country. But we as individuals have an obligation, as well. For years in my family we’ve given donations to charity in lieu of holiday gifts--who really needs another ugly tie or bulky sweater, anyway? Mr. Beale and I also sponsor a family at Manna of Nashville through a program our church offers every year.

Two gift donation resources I love are Heifer International and Seva Foundation. I love the idea of giving a gift like equipment for a new midwife for my sister, who used to work in the medical field. Or perhaps a month of literacy classes for my mother in law, who is a teacher. How about a dairy goat for a child in Africa as a gift for my niece, currently working on her Ag degree?

Many of these projects are in Third World countries, but I’d love to help people at home, too. This year, I think such traditions are going to be more important than ever. It could be life or death.

So, what are you doing to help those in need this holiday? I’d love to hear about it and learn about other resources. Post ’em in comments.