Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a day for families and friends to get together for a special meal.
The meal often includes a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and vegetables. Thanksgiving Day is a time for many people to give thanks for what they have.
Thanksgiving Day parades are held in some cities and towns on or around Thanksgiving Day. Some parades or festivities also mark the opening of the Christmas shopping season. Some people have a four-day weekend so it is a popular time for trips and to visit family and friends.
There are claims that the first Thanksgiving Day was held in the city of El Paso, Texas in 1598. Another early event was held in 1619 in the Virginia Colony. Many people trace the origins of the modern Thanksgiving Day to the harvest celebration that the Pilgrims held in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621.
However, the first true thanksgiving was in 1623, when the Pilgrams gave thanks for rain that ended a drought. These early thanksgivings took the form of a special church service, rather than a feast.
In the second half of the 1600s, thanksgivings after the harvest became more common and started to become annual events. However, it was celebrated on different days in different communities and in some places there were more than one thanksgiving each year. George Washington, the first president of the United States, proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1789.
What does Thanksgiving look like in families struggling in poverty?
Yet as many of us sit down to enjoy a turkey dinner this year, it’s important to remember the millions of Americans who have little in the way of bounty to be grateful for, yet as we share our bounty with them they can share in Thanksgiving with us.
More than 42 million Americans live in food-insecure households defined as uncertain of having or unable to buy enough food to meet the needs of all their members. State-level prevalence ranges from 9 percent in North Dakota to 21 percent in Mississippi. Among the most affected are households with children headed by a single woman, and households headed by black and Hispanic individuals.
“The United States is the most wealthy country in the world, yet far too many American children live in families with limited means to afford food,” said Renée Wilson-Simmons, DrPH, director of the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at the Mailman School. “This is a serious threat to our nation’s future that does not get the attention it deserves.”
Families facing food insecurity are known to manage by reducing the amount of food they eat and the kind of food served, and by replacing nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables with calorie-dense foods packed with carbohydrates and sugar. According to an NCCP report, 18 percent of 2- to 9-year old children living in deep poverty—a household income below 50 percent of the poverty line—suffer from obesity because of the choices of food that have little nutrition in them. “Quotes from Columbia University article 2016”
How can we help?
Ps. 41:1 says: “Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” Prov. 28:27 says: “Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.” Poverty is ever before us and how we respond to it affects our lives.
Ps 41;1 in the NLT: “Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.” So as we give to the poor, our Thanksgiving will be JOYFUL knowing that we have not only blessed a poor family as we share our abundance, but to express the heart of a loving God who loves them and cares for them through YOU!