Thursday, November 24, 2011


Norman Rockwell's ThanksgivingThanksgiving is a time when many Americans pause to be grateful for all we have. In the current economic downturn when the gap between rich and poor is at the highest level since the Great Depression, millions of our neighbors, including many families with children, are struggling hard to count their blessings.

Last year, 17.2 million households in the United States were food insecure, the highest level on record, as the Great Recession continued to wreak havoc on families across the country. Of those 17.2 million households, 3.9 million included children. On Thanksgiving Day, here’s a look at hunger in America, as millions of Americans struggle to get enough to eat in the wake of the economic crisis.

Hunger in Texas is a growing problem, even as Republicans clamor to scrap federal programs such as Social Security and food stamps that have helped keep food insecurity from becoming worse. Over the past three years, an average of 18.8 percent of Texas households couldn't get enough food to meet their needs, at least at times, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest review, released Wednesday. That was the second-highest percentage of any state, with only Mississippi, at 19.4 percent, looking worse.

Dallas County has about 450,000 people who have unsteady access to food, or 19 percent of its population. In Collin County, there are about 100,000 such folks (and a rate of 14 percent), while in Denton County, the 15-percent rate equates to about 90,000 people. Gov. Perry has recently been highly critical of the very food stamp program that has helped his state’s poorest residents get enough to eat. Perry calls the size of the food stamp program a “testament to widespread misery” — instead of an essential aid that’s keeping Texan families alive.

While Gov. Rick Perry touts his "Texas Miracle" record as he seeks the GOP presidential nomination, he ignores the fact that Texas has the second-highest number of households in the U.S. that are do not have enough food to put on the table - on Thanksgiving Day, or any other day of the year.

What kind of nation, blessed to be the wealthiest in the world, lets one in five children be poor, with its children the poorest age group among us? This indefensible and preventable child poverty reflects a spiritual and values poverty far deeper than the eye can see and threatens the very meaning and future of America. So I offer a Thanksgiving prayer for us to commit to end poverty in our time -- beginning with children:

2 Kings 4:10
"Let's make a small room on the
roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp
for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to

Proverbs 19:17
"He who is kind to the poor lends to the
LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done."

Ecclesiastes 11:1
"Cast your bread upon the waters, for
after many days you will find it again."

Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, 'I tell you
the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of
these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"

Mark 9:41
"I tell you the truth, anyone who gives
you a cup of water in my name because you belong to
Christ will certainly not lose his reward."

Hebrews 6:10
"God is not unjust; he will not forget
your work and the love you have shown him as you have
helped his people and continue to help them."

God Help Us To End Poverty In Our Time.
by Marian Wright Edelman
on Twitter: /ChildDefender

The poverty of having a child with too little to eat and no place to sleep, no air, sunlight and space in which to breathe, bask, and grow.

The poverty of watching your child suffer and get sicker and sicker and not knowing what to do or how to get help because you don't have a car to get to the emergency room or health insurance.

The poverty of working your fingers to the bone every day taking care of somebody else's children and neglecting your own, and still not being able to pay your bills.

The poverty of having a job which does not let you afford a stable place to live and being terrified you'll become homeless and lose your children to foster care.

The poverty of losing your job and searching and searching and searching for another amidst an epidemic scarcity of work.

The poverty of working all your life caring for others and having to start all over again caring for the grandchildren you love.

The poverty of earning a college degree, having children, opening a day care center, and taking home $300 a week or even month if you're lucky.

The poverty of loneliness and isolation and alienation -- having no one to call or visit, tell you where to get help, assist you in getting it, or care if you're living or dead.

The poverty of having too much and sharing too little and having the burden of nothing to carry.

The poverty of convenient blindness and deafness and indifference to others, of emptiness and enslavement to things, drugs, power, money, violence, and fleeting fame.

The poverty of low aim and paltry purpose, weak will and tiny vision, big meetings and small action, loud talk and sullen grudging service.

The poverty of believing in nothing, standing for nothing, sharing nothing, sacrificing nothing, struggling for nothing.

The poverty of pride and ingratitude for God's gifts of life and children and family and freedom and country and earth and not wanting for others what you want for yourself.

The poverty of greed for more and more and more, ignoring, blaming, and exploiting the needy, and taking from the weak to please the strong.

The poverty of addiction to drink, to work, to self, to the status quo, and to injustice.

The poverty of fear which keeps you from doing the thing you think is right.

The poverty of despair and cynicism.

God help us end poverty in our time in all its faces and places, young and old, rural, urban, suburban and small town too, and in every color of humans You have made everywhere.

God help us to end poverty in our time in all its guises -- inside and out -- physical and spiritual, so that all our and Your children may live the lives that You intend in the richest nation on earth.

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