Saturday, November 29, 2008


I'm a bit late. But now that the turkey has been roasted to a juicy golden brown, and the feast is now scattered in containers that will probably stay there until it's time to prepare Christmas dinner, I think of all of the people that would greatly benefit from those leftovers in the frig.

It brings me to think about Americans and our excess. There would not be a hungry man, woman or child in our country if we took what the average home wastes, and instead of buying it in the first place, we donated the money to help those in need.

I wonder how much we could individually give if every time we reached for the large size on the shelf at the market, and instead bought a smaller size, and donated the difference. I would throw away a lot less, making less trash. And someone less fortunate than our family would have food in their refrigerators.

I used to think about that when I was out of work during the tech crash in 2000. For the year and a half that it took to finally find a job, I thought about that massive amount of food, clothes and money that we as a nation throw away. For the first time in my life, I had to worry whether we would even keep a roof over our heads. We lived on peanut butter and bread and I consoled myself with the knowledge that at least my daughter got a nutritious meal during school lunch.

I would have accepted the scraps from my neighbors table.

Here we are again. Thankfully, so far, I am fortunate enough to still have a job. But I know that circumstances can change in the blink on an eye. Thanks to the economy, the one 401K I have left is probably at a negative balance. The crash took my home, and my savings. After thirty years of working, the only thing I have to show for it is a regular paycheck.

But even surviving paycheck to paycheck, I am grateful that I am surviving. So, I am thinking about those who are not. And I promise, that as long as I can, I will remember those who don't have so much to be thankful for, and give what I can. Not just for now, not just when it's convenient, not just to get that warm fuzzy feeling during the holidays, but all year round.

Even at it's worst, this is still a land of plenty. And during hard times, the hardest thing may be to think outside our own concerns. But we each have something to give, and if we give, we all benefit. There is no reason for any of us to go without.

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