I’ve been thinking about food. Actually I’ve been thinking about my recent experiences, family, our current problems, giving thanks, the Rochelle Christian Food Pantries, Obama, and Uncle $ugar. The third Thursday in November we in the US observe a truly unique American celebration—a traditional time of fellowship, remembrance, and gratitude. We look back upon where we have been, we consider where we find ourselves, and we contemplate where we are headed.
This year, the looming uncertainties of what 2010 holds in store will be a part of every gathering of friends, families, and neighbors where we share a bountiful meal, fellowship, and conversation. I wish you and yours a truly wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
This year, I am so looking forward to joining my family members in Naperville for the holidays. For me, this is the Thanksgiving that shouldn’t be. My infection early last summer and my second open heart surgery, along with the nine weeks of IV’s of antibiotic cocktails, could easily have been the end of me. Monday, I saw the physician who coordinated my recovery treatment. I jokingly refer to him as my “poison” doctor. He clearly worked his magic because six months late I am still alive and kicking—well, at least I am alive and re-learning to do so many of the things that I once just took for granted. Stairs are the hardest. I lost 81 pounds during the ordeal—one-third of my weight—and have since regained 22 pounds. Food is finally actually tasting like it should taste. (I love food and have noticed the difference, trust me!)
I have so much to be thankful for in 2009. I will look forward to seeing the family and meeting the newest member who was born during my hiatus. I won’t join the guys for the annual game of touch football, but I will be there watching and cheering from the sidelines. I am just so happy to be there!
Our economic situation continues to deteriorate despite the rah-rah media releases from the administration. There can be no recovery until we as a nation stop losing jobs. And...I don’t foresee that happening for at least another 18 months. In 2009, over 15 million households are now "food insecure," meaning they are “experiencing difficulty in providing the necessary level of sustenance for their household and are literally days from running out of things to eat." This includes roughly three million senior citizens and one out of two children. The worst economic times in over 70 years are clearly taking their toll. Any attempt to put faces on the growing need is a lame attempt to spin that well over 37 million people, including over 13 million children, are going to bed hungry at night. Such a situation is unconscionable in this land of abundance. Yet... it is the reality even during this week of the normal Thanksgiving feasting! America’s food pantries, our first responders to the growing need, are the primary safety net, but they are being stretched to the maximum.
Take, for example, the experience of the Rochelle Area Christian Food pantry, which was established in our small Illinois town in 1982, 27 years ago. It long ago outgrew its original location in the basement of Dr. John Prabhakar’s office basement, and it now provides food assistance to upwards of 320 families each month. This is a 33% rise in the households served over just one year. The one-third increase in Rochelle’s need is consistent with the statistics provided from virtually every food pantry across this entire land. (The numbers will keep growing.) Please make the effort to make any contribution in non-perishable food items (or cash) during this holiday season, as they are sorely needed. They can also use food, money, and volunteers.
We tend to look to the federal, state, and local governments as the panacea for our social problems, but they will not be the real solution here. Government resources too are being stretched to the maximum on almost every front. The bulk of food contributions will come from local organizations, churches, companies, and individuals. These are the real sources for relief in this critical area of need.
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at email@example.com.
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This story was published on November 23, 2009.