Helping the Hungry During Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner and it’s the season for expressing gratitude. It’s the time of year when soup kitchens swell with volunteers and food pantries go into overdrive, giving out turkeys to the needy. How bad is this country’s hunger problem? According to Jordan Weissmann, a former senior associate editor at The Atlantic, in about 6 out of every 100 homes, someone is forced to go without food during the year. This is the time when everyone should be thankful for what they have and should realize that during this time, a lot of people don’t have anything to eat.

Tens of millions of Americans have trouble affording meals. In September, 20 percent of adults told Gallup that at some time in the past year, they didn’t have enough money to buy the food their family needed. Since the recession, hunger rates have jumped and have yet to come down. In 2012, 14.5 percent of households suffered from some form of food “insecurity,” which essentially means that they might not have been able to afford a balanced diet, said Weissmann. The other side is that almost 49 million adults and children couldn’t always count on where their next meal was coming from.

This is where organizations like Hosea Feed the Hungry come into play. Since 1971, Hosea Helps has been helping the city of Atlanta with its hunger problem. For every holiday event, they provide a meal that consists of a meat option, vegetables, starches, breads, water, other beverages and a dessert. Some of the meals are served in a seated ballroom setting, and others are packed to-go and delivered to the homes of senior citizens and households without transportation. Every year, they serve over 20,000 of those meals.

Along with the meals, Hosea Helps invites barbers and hair stylists from all over Atlanta who volunteer their time and skills to provide free barber and beauty services to hundreds of children, women and men every holiday season. Also, at each event they provide free children’s, women’s and men’s clothing. Individuals in need are allowed to pick out winter coats, scarfs, socks, quality business attire, and shoes for themselves. The people are then allowed to groom and bathe themselves before they leave with the new clean clothes they picked out for themselves and their family.

If that wasn’t enough, Hosea provides live entertainment, employment assistance, and free health care to those in need. Medical doctors and nurses come together to provide the families and individuals with health care screenings. The Georgia Department of Labor, and other agencies work together to combat unemployment by providing the guests who attend events with the tools that they need to move toward financial stability. The great thing is that they offer job readiness training, job placement, and family financial planning to anyone who attends the event.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, come to the Thanksgiving Dinner Drive at The Georgia World Congress Center. On November 22 go to 103 Magnum Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30313 (Red Deck) to take part in the festivities.