While You’re Feasting, Don’t Forget…

Image: Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Day is almost here and families everywhere are prepping for epic eating.

Apple pie, pumpkin pie, cherry pie and ice cream. Turkey and dressing, cranberries and casseroles,  from sweet and spicy, to boiled and buttered.

Many of us will eat until we’re more stuffed than the main course, then we’ll head back for one more  bite. Thanksgiving is a day to connect with family and friends and nothing creates an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality like home-cooked food…lots of it.

Thanksgiving origins

According to Scholastic.com, our national holiday stems from a feast held at Plymouth in the autumn of 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag indians to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest. But it wasn’t until 1863 that  President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday.

Why turkey?

The guest of honor at most Thanksgiving meals will be the traditional roast turkey, but there’s little evidence why. Some  historians suggest there happened to be an abundance of turkeys in the area around Plymouth. But from it’s humble free range origins, turkey has risen to a place of poultry prominence.

U.S. annual per-person turkey consumption has nearly doubled over the past 25 years reaching a whopping 16 pounds per person in 2011.  Almost 46 million turkeys were consumed during the 2011 Thanksgiving alone.  At an average weight of 16 pounds per turkey that equals about 736 million pounds or  2.33 pounds of turkey per American.

But while many of us put on an extra couple of holiday pounds, other Americans will face another day unsure whether they will eat at all.

Not-so-stuffed statistics

According to FeedAmerica.org, 46.2 million people (15.0 percent) were in poverty in 2011 and 50.1 million Americans were living in food insecure households.  Food insecurity is defined as one or more people in a household experiencing hunger over the course of the year because they can not afford enough food. Hunger is often misunderstood and there are many myths about the causes and cures.

5 myths about hunger in America:

  1. No one goes hungry in America. False
    1 in 6 people in the US will be food insecure this month. That means they will be out of money, out of food and forced to miss meals.
  2. Ending malnourishment is merely a humanitarian concern. – False
    Malnourishment is an economic concern. Hungry children can’t learn so they drop out of school, then they can’t get a job, so they turn to crime.
  3. Children are the only ones who go hungry. – False
    Single working mothers are the most likely to go without eating.
  4. The food that America wastes could feed everybody.False
    Much of the wasted food is unfit for consumption or impractical to collect.
  5. Hunger is limited to certain demographics and geographic areas.False
    Hunger knows no zip code.

To learn more facts about hunger, take the online quiz at FeedAmerica.org: Click here

Ways you can help now

  1. Donate to feedamerica.org.
    – They currently have a gift matching program so you can double your impact!
  2. Check out the AARP’s Create The Good website.
    – Very comprehensive, user-friendly site.
  3. Visit the United We Serve – End Hunger Portal.
    – Find opportunities to serve,
    – Get FREE tools to promote and launch your project,
    – Register your project,
    – Share your story,
    – And more!
  4. Contact your local food bank.

The majority of Americans have much to be thankful for this holiday season. Regardless of whether your political candidate won or not, we still live in one of the richest, safest, healthiest countries in the world. So while you enjoy your abundance this Thanksgiving, consider making a donation of time, effort or money to fight hunger.You’ll always receive more than you give.

Happy Thanksgiving!




Image: antonellomusina

This post was written by...

Robert is the founder of RobertRizzo.com | Mediocrity-Free Living. He is passionate about helping people discover the rewards of daily giving.

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