Tuesday, November 24, 2009

As Thanksgiving Approaches . . .

With “Temporary Visitors,” we paused to consider the turkey’s fate; with “May I Eat as I Please, Please?” we ruminated about French tarts and frozen peas.  With “Thanksgiving Prep,” we ended up redecorating the house in anticipation of arriving guests.  And with “Thanksgiving in South Africa,” we were reminded that Thanksgiving is not just about the groaning board.

The real bounty of Thanksgiving is the gathering together of friends and family—and a hand extended out to share.  We give thanks to organizations in our neighborhoods that share their bounty of caring every day.  Here are three:

The Clinic provides quality health care to the uninsured in suburban Philadelphia.  The populations the Clinic serves are people who truly fall through the cracks of human and social services.  They do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, and often their income is just over the requirement based upon 150% or 200% of the federal poverty level guidelines.  Dr. Lorna Stuart left her successful private medical practice to open the Clinic when she noticed too many of her patients delaying treatment because they did not have enough money or insurance to pay for care.  Since its doors opened in October of 2002, Dr. Stuart and volunteer physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals have treated more than 51,000 patients who have no medical insurance or who are underinsured.  She and the Clinic were recently featured on NBC's The Today Show.

All Faiths Food Bank, in Sarasota, Florida, gathers and, in co-operation with more than 160 partner agencies, distributes food to more than 32,500 people in Sarasota and DeSoto counties every day.  The majority of those the Food Bank serves are hard-working families who simply cannot make ends meet.  40% have at least one working member in their household.  Many are single parents trying to raise their children on one income.  38% are children, and 16% are elderly, often having to choose between buying medicine or food. 

The Food Bank of the Hudson Valley in New York distributes food to over three hundred programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, rehabilitation programs, homeless shelters, day care centers, and senior citizen programs.  Last year the Food Bank distributed over 8 million pounds of food in six counties:  Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, Dutchess, Putnam, and Rockland.  The Food Bank is seeing an estimated 18% increase in demand or need for emergency food assistance.  The increase is particularly driven by first-time users of the emergency food assistance system and more people who have recently lost their jobs.

May you have a Happy Thanksgiving, and please visit us Thanksgiving Day, when we will be back with a new post!

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