Posts Tagged ‘helping during the holiday season’

While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.

It is basically one week until Thanksgiving.  Today, I stared at a client list of 259 families who are entitled to holiday food.  When I say entitled…what I mean is that these are monthly Jewish Family Service Food Pantry clients who depend on JFS for supplemental food to make ends meet.  They might be our elderly and senior population, or single moms raising their children….they might be those who have come upon hard times and unfortunately lost their jobs during this unpredictable economy.  But the most IMPORTANT factor here is that THEY ARE MY NEIGHBORS, YOUR NEIGHBORS…families that attend the same school as your children, people you may see at church/religious services, at football games, sporting events, school recitals or just around town.  Sometimes they are the quiet ones, and you will never know just how much they are trying with their last breath to make ends meet. 

November is typically known as the end of the harvest, the end of the season, a time to celebrate the “fruits” of the harvest.  But my mind keeps going back to those who do not or cannot make ends meet.  Families who want to be thankful but cannot see their way out of their situation and wondering how they could possibly provide a holiday meal when they have a problem providing for their family on a daily basis…one day might seem ok scrapping by with what is in the house, but it may be followed by another bad day, week  or month.

Channel 8 News/WTNH has been broadcasting the need to feed our neighbors.  Their annual sponsored event “Fill the Bowl” with Yale playing Harvard is this weekend and they are begging for turkeys, monetary donations and non-perishable foods. There are various food drives statewide right now.

In case you have ever wondered if your donation is worth it…let’s put this in perspective.  The JFS pantry will distribute more than 3,300 lbs. of fresh produce, approximately another 5,000 lbs. of non-perishable food and Stop & Shop gift cards (to offset the cost of a turkey to its clients).  We are still securing food for the JFS distribution and Tuesday will be the culmination of many tireless hours by volunteers and JFS to provide for our clients.

The most amazing thing or shall I say shocking fact is that the JFS pantry is just one little pebble of the numerous pebbles of non-profits agencies and organizations right here in New Haven county doing the same thing …  Providing for those who are food insecure, NOT just for this holiday but everyday of the year.  This includes just about every agency and organization and the CT FOOD BANK all working together to feed the hungry and the “silent hungry.”   I cannot tell you how many times I have heard…”I never thought I would need a food pantry or I would need help feeding my family.” 

Today as you read this, think of those who will be visiting the local food pantries (whether JFS ) or your local pantry or soup kitchen.  Think about those who have no choice but to visit a soup kitchen with their family for the upcoming holiday.    Think about how the Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish, regardless of ethnicity, religion, heritage or if the Indians were there first. 

We are all in this together and it is the human nature, and for my agency… JFS… to help those in need, regardless of their circumstances, ethnicity, religion or background.  

While you are shopping for your holiday, think of those less fortunate.  One extra can of gravy, a box of stuffing or a monetary donation to JFS, the CT Food Bank or your local social service agency can mean the world to a family right here in your neighborhood (maybe one of your child’s classmates) your town, or New Haven county.  There are numerous food drives taking place during this next week. 

Lastly, please remember, this need is constant … and not just for the holidays.  If you have the means, think of those who do not.  No one should be food insecure and together we can make a difference even if it is “one can or box at a time.”  I wish you a blessed Holiday. 

Please note…this is only my opinion and does NOT reflect the general views of JFS.


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