The church I served in Westport, CT has hosted a Community Thanksgiving Feast for decades. Hundreds of folks every year enjoy music played by local musicians, and eat turkey with all the trimmings. Dozens of volunteers shop and cook and set tables. Dozens more procure donations and clean up after the last guest leaves.
For several years some of the finest support for the Feast came from the kids at two local schools. The middle school kids raised a significant sum of money to help underwrite the Feast. The elementary school children made table decorations and cards for each person who attends.
I just loved reading those cards! They were often quite witty, and truly come from the heart.One of the cards one year featured a turkey on orange construction paper and read: “Dear Best Bud, Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a blast. From Eliana.”
Another, decorated with colorful feathers, was very politically correct: “Dear He or She”, it begins, “I hope you have a good Thanksgiving.”
A girl named Blythe must have been told by her teacher that some of the guests at the Feast come simply because they were all alone and wanted some company. Her card, with an adorable brown turkey on blue construction paper, read: “Dear Friend, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you can find a friend after Thanksgiving so you can have a friend before the next Thanksgiving.”
Most of the cards, though, focused on the meal itself. Alyssia wrote: “Have a Happy Thanksgiving. Eat a lot of turkey.” And Jayan got right to the point: “Eat all the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and pumpkin pie, even if you have to stuff yourself.”
Across the nation, many, many churches and community groups hold similar Thanksgiving meals. Others, like the church I serve now, raise funds to buy turkeys or food baskets for those in need. Most anyone and everyone can get enough to eat on Thanksgiving. And that is a good thing, a very good thing indeed! But that unfortunately doesn’t seem to be the case the other 364 days of the year.
Approximately 42.2 million Americans have, what the government calls, "low food security." Put into plain English, that means from day to day they may not have enough to eat--or know from where their next meal will come. They may be undernourished, malnourished, or just plain hungry.
I am grateful for congregations like the one in Westport, and the one I serve here on Sanibel, and for the good work they do at this time of the year. And I am also grateful that both of them, and many other congregations as well, are involved in year round efforts to eliminate hunger in America (not to mention the rest of the world.) But it will take far more. It will take a national commitment to ending hunger here in our own nation. It is time to say, "Enough!" It is time to demand that our governmental officials do more to address this issue. No child should go hungry--neither should any adult. Here in the United States, or anywhere else in the world.
As you share your Thanksgiving Dinner, I pray that you remember those who are not so richly blessed. I pray that you be willing to take up the challenge to help eliminate hunger.