With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it is a great time to be reminded of how fortunate
many of us are: many of us can count good health among our blessings, many among us have plenty of food in our pantry and roofs over our heads, and many can even afford the occasional splurge or two.
For many in our midst, that is not the case. According to Feeding America, an alarming number of our neighbors live in poverty or experience food insecurity.
- In 2013 alone, nearly 20% of children under age 18 lived in poverty.
- Over 15 million children live in food insecure households.
- The numbers are not much better for seniors: 9.5% live in poverty.
These numbers provide only a glimpse into the reality that too many people face on a regular basis. Homelessness is also an increasing issue facing many in our nation; as the National Coalition for the Homeless points out, “Recent studies suggest that United States generates homelessness at a much higher rate than previously thought.”
It can be easy to be disheartened by such staggering statistics, but it is important to focus on what can be done. When I was in college, I had the opportunity to take a community leadership course as an elective. The biggest takeaway for me was the sentiment, “But why (is this the case/does this happen)?”
With this question in mind, I think it is helpful to consider the root causes of poverty and homelessness. Why are people homeless? Why are people hungry? Taking major issues and addressing their causes in bite sizes can make a bigger positive impact and is less overwhelming.
Certainly major events and issues like foreclosure, poverty and mental illness play a role in homelessness. Poverty and economic hardship may also play into issues of hunger.
So what can we do?
National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week takes place November 15-23. We urge you to check out events that are taking place nationwide. Even if it is not in your power to give financially, you can help to educate and bring awareness to those in need. Hunger and Homelessness is not a problem unique to the United States; it is a worldwide pandemic.
This Thanksgiving, we at Striving Stewardess urge you to consider giving the gifts you have to be a blessing to others. This is a key component of stewardship.