Millions of Americans have shopped in supermarkets for the food to be prepared and consumed in a bountiful Thanksgiving feast, yet the destination for millions of others is food banks for a basic holiday meal.
Headlines in newspapers and at television stations across America share a similar theme: Don't forget hungry kids and families on Thanksgiving. A headline in the Bellingham Herald in Bellingham, WA reads, "Remember the hungry kids in America on Thanksgiving." Citing the World Hunger Education Service, the Bellingham Heraldnotes, "14.5 percent of American households in 2010 could be classified as 'food insecure,' the highest ever recorded in the United States since the government began gathering this statistic in 1995."
Thousands of miles away, in the State of North Carolina, the title of Wilmington, North Carolina's WECT6's story is "Don't forget the hungry this Thanksgiving." WECT6 reports the following:
Hunger is a serious issue in southeastern North Carolina. It affects thousands of children, family, and elderly. During the holidays, those people rely on food banks, but it we don't help replenish the inventory, they will go without. This makes it extremely challenging to provide adequate amounts of food and supplies for local agencies and groups. While this has been a challenging year for all, the food banks need our help.
Hunger is, in fact, a serious issue across America. Feeding America, a leading hunger-relief charity, states, “1 in 6 Americans, 49 million, are currently living in households that are identified as food insecure.”
"Food insecure" is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as the following:
An estimated 85.5 percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2010, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (14.5 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 5.4 percent with very low food security—meaning that the food intake of one or more household members was reduced and their eating patterns were disrupted at times during the year because the household lacked money and other resources for food.
The food banks in southeastern North Carolina are not the only ones needing help. Another example comes from Northwest Arkansas where the Ross Trotter, a project coordinator for the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank, says that donations are coming in "But the food is flying out the door." According to NWAHomepage.com [video included], "And with the winter holidays looming and the freezers nearly empty, Trotter worries about the 140 agencies the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank serves."
Trotter was quoted as saying, "We've taken some hits as far as food giving this year. In fact, we are down even though food drives are starting to pick up for us."
Contributions to food banks can help millions of Americans to not only have a nutritious meal on Thanksgiving but also during the days, weeks, and months following the holiday. If you would like to donate food or funds, visit Feeding America's Food Bank Locator to find a food bank near you.