Last Thursday would normally have been the day for our blog post to appear in this space but we knew folks would not be sitting in their offices checking their emails. Last Thursday was, as we all know, Thanksgiving Day here in America. And Thanksgiving Day in America is not a typical Thursday by any measure. Soap operas give way to parades and regular evening television broadcasts are replaced with college football or Peanuts specials. And every year the entities that track such things report that the several days surrounding Thanksgiving are “the heaviest travel days of the year.” We expect that in the same way we expect the turkey on the table, because so many Americans head for the road or the airport in order to gather with family and friends – around someone’s dining room table. And the majority of those tables are not typical either. They are generally heaped with food in abundance to celebrate the occasion.
Abundance, of course, is a relative term; what it means in one household can differ greatly from what it means in another. But we imagine, and hope, that everyone who can adds a little something special to the menu that day. Everyone who can.
We realize, as well, that last Thursday, as is true every Thursday in America, there were senior citizens who were not gathered around a table with loved ones enjoying the bounty. That day, as every day, they were working to stretch their dollars to buy enough food to get them through the week.
We don’t mention this to be killjoys, throwing cold water on the warmth of the beloved American holiday and tradition. Rather we do so to remind those of you who are engaged with NFESH and other organizations throughout this nation in the fight against senior hunger what a vital role you play in our national life. To some it may seem inconsequential. But we know that to others a meal four or five days a week, enjoyed by elders who face food insecurity in the company of their peers, embodies the American spirit of democratic ideals. It makes a difference for those who are in need. It stresses the importance of giving.
For us at NFESH, part of what Thanksgiving means is giving thanks for those of you who are daily engaged in that endeavor. It also means rededicating ourselves to honing the tools we have developed that enable you to reach more seniors in need and working tirelessly to create new ones. It means hoping that more and more of our fellow citizens will get involved. Here in the United States every Thursday should be Thanksgiving and every single day, not just Giving Tuesday, should be one of sharing with those who are in need – and supporting those who do.