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The Criterion

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Not Everyone’s Feasting this Thanksgiving

This holiday season millions around the country and thousands at home will struggle to feed their families

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With the Holiday season about to come into full-swing, millions of Americans are buying cart-fulls of foodstuffs at their local grocery store. 18-pound turkeys, boxes of stovetop stuffing, a wide assortment of canned vegetables, and apples and sweet potatoes for pies, are all being prepared for dinner tables nationwide. But in this time of family and food, it’s easy to forget that there are many families in this country that can’t afford to have such an extravagant meal on Thanksgiving.

Over 42 million people in the United States are currently suffering from food insecurity: the lack of consistent access to a sufficient amount of nutritious food (statistic provided by www.feedingamerica.org). These millions of people can’t afford to stock their fridge on a normal day, nevermind fill their table on Thanksgiving. This is why organizations like food pantries and soup kitchens are so crucial to poor communities. They allow people to eat more than food stamps or other government aid services would provide for.

Services like these also prevent low-income communities from getting all their food from cheap, garbage-food fast food restaurants. Most people can agree that a burger from a fast-food restaurant tastes decent, but even more agree that the food sold at the large chain restaurants is not nutritious enough to base your diet on. But unfortunately many parents have to settle on buying dinner from these places. They simply can’t afford anything else. The reasons and ramifications of this are something to be discussed in a different article.

But the fact remains that food pantries and soup kitchens are for some, the only source of nutritious food they have.

Many religious establishments and community centers around the country hold these services for the less fortunate around the holiday season, and some even hold them year round. In the Bridgeport area, Churches like the Olivet Congregational Church, Saint George Parish, and the United Congregational Church (the UCC). Every year, Olivet holds a food drive for Thanksgiving, and a clothes drive for Christmas, both through the Covenant to Care program. Saint George’s holds a weekly food kitchen on Mondays in affiliation with several different churches in the community. As a big church, the UCC give a lot back to the community, with their food pantry on Wednesdays and soup kitchen on Thursdays.

Both events are manned by BuildOn volunteers from Central, Bassick, and Harding (but mostly Central).

Saul Velasquez, a lifelong volunteer and avid participant in both the UCC Food Pantry and the UCC Feel the Warmth soup kitchen, recognizes the importance of giving back to the community. “I love to help people who are in need, and I know that people don’t have the food that they should.” He’s gained a connection with many of the families he serves there, many of whom he stops and chats with when he has time. Velasquez said the pantry helps the community in a big way. “It helps the children that can’t help themselves, to food that they should have.”

Food services like all of these help struggling communities through tough times, and they are essential to some families that depend on a helping hand from their neighbors to get to the next meal.

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The student news site of Bridgeport Central High School
Not Everyone’s Feasting this Thanksgiving