When you sit down for a meal on Giving Tuesday, you can set aside a place for a "silent guest," one of the world's hungry. Then you could make a donation to a charity, the cost of feeding your "silent guest."
While at the food bank, I talked with other volunteers as well as those there to collect food -- an experience that opened my eyes to the faces of hunger in our country. The people in line who needed food were often indistinguishable from the volunteers.
Nearly 49 million Americans struggle with hunger. These Americans live in every single county and congressional district in the U.S. Hunger is a real issue in America - and a major one at that. Yet, it doesn't have to be. If we work together as a nation, we can solve hunger.
This past month, I had the opportunity to meet Andrea at her home in suburban Detroit. Andrea has been married eight years to her husband, Matt, and together they have a bright, energetic 7-year-old son named Connor.
"To witness hunger in America today," journalist Tracie McMillan writes in the August issue of National Geographic Magazine, "is to enter a twilight zone where refrigerators are so frequently bare of all but mustard and ketchup that it provokes no remark, inspires no embarrassment."
Last year 47 million hungry Americans lost food stamp benefits, and Congress may be bringing more cuts to the table. Needy families are placed in the awful situation of having to choose between heat or food.
It is a good thing that we live in a country where a strong safety net exists to support those who find themselves in need. In a country as bountiful and blessed as the United States, no one should go hungry.
At a time when the food stamp program is keeping millions out of poverty and easing the struggles of those who are already poor, our Congress is mulling over how best to cut the program. Perhaps three ghosts need to pay our "leaders" a visit and awaken their Scrooge-ish consciences.
We need a Farm Bill that fights hunger in America and preserves the food stamp (SNAP) program. There are millions of Americans struggling because of unemployment and low wages. Yet, SNAP cuts took effect November 1st and more might be on the way.
Over the holiday weekend, I saw heart-wrenching news stories from across the country illustrating the impact of cuts through the personal stories of children and families that are using SNAP to get back on their feet.
After the recent cut, people receiving food stamps get an average of less than $1.40 per meal. That certainly doesn't buy a Thanksgiving dinner, but it also doesn't provide enough to put food on the table all month long.
During the holidays, when loved ones come together to celebrate and be thankful for one another, it is important to remember that millions of people across the United States are not as fortunate as many Americans.
As we gather around the dinner table this holiday season, we are called to reflect on our blessings. Yet there are millions of American families who are still rebuilding in the wake of the worst recession in decades -- and they still need help.