Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving? Did you buy your turkey and all of the trimmings? For many Americans, celebrating with a special meal is not possible.
In 1968, CBS produced a documentary called, “Hunger in America.” Various studies had found that hunger was a significant problem in America. The estimate was that 10 million people were hungry in the United States.
Now the definition has changed and we call the problem “food insecurity.”
In 2008, a report stated that, “There is almost no attention to the fact that the U.S. has by far the highest level of food insecurity among industrialized Western nations. Some 36.2 million Americans, including 12 million children, live in households that can’t afford enough food.” In 2013, the documentary, “A Place at the Table,” reported that, “50 million Americans don’t know where their next meal is coming from. And one in four are children.”
If you went shopping and saw those barrels collecting donations at your grocery store, the barrels were probably headed for a food bank. Here is an introduction to the SF-Marin Food Bank.
And in San Francisco, in 1950, a Franciscan Friar named Alfred Boeddeker started St. Anthony’s Dining Room in the Tenderloin. The dining room was remodeled in 2014. Two years ago they served 4,000 meals. In the six decades they have been open, they estimate serving more than 42 million meals.
Here is a short clip about the first Thanksgiving in the new dining room:
Of course, the need continues after the holiday, and for 352 days a year. If you can donate or volunteer at St. Anthony’s, or at a food bank where you live, I know the help will be gratefully received.