Some Christmas Eve Thoughts

Tomorrow is Christmas, when those of us who are Christians, or nominally so, celebrate the birth of Jesus.  It’s considered a season of giving, and many of us will be together with family and friends, with gifts exchanged and plenty of food.   For myself, I have tried to instill in my family members the idea that I personally do not want any gifts.  Really, it’s not that I don’t appreciate the thought, but  I have everything I need, and I’m grateful for that.    As a matter or practicality, I don’t have a lot of space available to store things in my apartment, and a gift ends up being one more thing I have to find a spot for.   I tell them if they want to do something, just donate to a charity whatever they would have spent on my gift, and I’ll be happy.

Which brings me to the subject.  Earlier this month, President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which raises nutritional standards for school lunches and increases school lunch program funding by $4.5 billion over the next 10 years, and  expands access to school lunch program for at least 115,000 students.   Which is an important piece of legislation, one which drew bi-partisan praise.  No one likes the thought of children going hungry, and we want them to have a healthy diet.   But at the same time this act was signed,  and as much as it will do,  we need to remember that this only helps children when they’re in school.

It’s when they are not in school,  on weekends and holiday breaks, that they are not helped.  Hunger is a real problem at this time.

Winter break is anything but a wonderland for children in many of the nation’s estimated 44 million food insecure families, who rely on school lunch for sustenance.

Nearly 16 percent of US households with children were food insecure during 2009, according to the most recently published United States Department of Agriculture figures, meaning that they did not have consistent access to adequate food for active, healthy lives for all household members.

For many of these children, the holidays are not a happy break, it means losing meals, a time they’re going to go hungry.  In an editorial over on Huffington Post, Vicki Escarra write:

And during the holidays, we are more keenly aware of the inequity of bounty that life bestows: the homeless man crossing the street with dozens of holiday shoppers; a woman, in a grocery store where others are buying holiday specialties, who has to put back chicken or milk because each is a luxury that she cannot afford.

Indeed.  There are people going hungry in this country, even in the midst of plenty.  That is a sad reality.  Yes, government can – and does – help somewhat, but there is still the need for private organizations to fill the gap.  No one likes to see a child go hungry, and particularly at this time of year.   Which is why I’m calling attention to two organizations on my “Charities” list:   Feeding America and  Share Our Strength.  Both are outstanding organizations that help supply food banks and feed hungry children in this country.   In this time of giving,  we should remember those who are less fortunate, and take the time to help.

34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

I have everything I need, but I never forget that there are others who are struggling. Want to get me something for Christmas? Help someone who needs it.



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16 responses to “Some Christmas Eve Thoughts

  1. Dorothy Rissman

    Norbrook, you are sunshine on a cloudy day. Merry Christmas to you.

  2. I do the same thing, Norbrook. I really don’t need anything. I take it a step further and have decided that my parents don’t need anything either (ha) and their gift from me is a donation to a local charity in their name.

    Feeding America is a great place to put your money. Hunger at any time is terrible … hunger during the winter can kill you.

    • Yes, I’ve been on their mailing lists for a while, and it’s one of my favorite charities. It provides a lot of bang for the buck, and serves a very necessary purpose.

      As I said on another blog a while back, I can use any number of justifications for government and private programs designed to feed children. Whichever works is fine, if it means a hungry child gets fed.

  3. Without equivocation I wholeheartedly support your ideals here.

    It would be my hope that we all help as we can, all year long.

    Merry Christmas and blessings to you and your family.

  4. majii

    As a retired teacher, child hunger is something I’ve seen firsthand. Anyone who opposes feeding any hungry child anywhere in the world doesn’t understand how widespread the problem is. I saw kids from all ethnic and racial groups at the school where I worked whose parents were unable to provide adequately for their nutritional needs. Not because the parents didn’t care, but because they just didn’t have the money.

    My daughter and I have taken as our goal donating to our local food bank. A donation of $11 goes a long way. Since I live in Middle GA where there are many who don’t want the government to do anything to help the less fortunate, I feel that it is up to individuals like my daughter and myself to put our Christian values into practice by donating to our local food bank. I’ve found that many who call themselves Christians here and would deny a child/family food are unwilling to put even a little bit of their money where their mouths are. Thanks, Norbrook for the links, the scripture, and all else you do to bring more light into the world. I’m wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Great New Year. I hope your family realizes what a gem they have in you.

    • Exactly, I know in this area, there’s a lot of families on food stamps, and yes, the school lunch program (and other programs) help feed a lot of people. As to my family realizing what a gem I am, it depends on the day and mood you catch them in. 😆 One of the times someone sang my praises to one of my sisters, her comment back to me was “Boy, do you have them snowed!” 😛

  5. g

    A wonderful post, my friend.

    I also contribute to Feed the Hungry efforts, here in CT, and a CT based effort that provides food, shelter, clothing for the most impovershed Americans, the First American tribe – the Lakota.

    Best holidays – a pleasure to have met you….g

  6. Bob

    Merry Christmas, Norbrook. My wife and i, and members of the family years ago decided that rather than exchanging gifts – we have what we need – we would select organizations like Save the Children, Central Asia Society, and several others and our gifts to each other would be gifts to those organizations. It is so fulfilling to think of each family member as we take the time to contact the organization and make the donations in their name. So, thank you for yet another wonderful post and all the best to you and your family,

  7. Nina

    Wonderful, personal post, Norbrook. There are different ways to give as well, if you don’t have money. and can’t make a donation. Here’s an interesting post on being a
    ‘good Samaritan’ (BBC). So Merry Christmas, everyone!

  8. sjterrid

    Feeding America is indeed a wonderful organization. I’ve been donating to them when I can. I especially like to give during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
    I will have to add your name to my blogs that I have to read. Thank you.

    • Welcome! I’ve been involved with it for a while, ever since the inimitable noweasels asked me to be a part of the Feeding the Hungry blogathons that were on Daily Kos. Just because I ended my participation on DK does not mean I ended any participation with charities – particularly this one. 🙂

      • You can even keep doing blogathons. I found a way to get the word out in more places than just one. 😉

        • 😀 Thanks! There’s another organization (I’ll have to go back and find it) which networks home gardeners with local food banks. Anyone who has ever grown zucchini for the first time knows the feeling of “what do I do with all this?” or has extra – so someone had the great idea of “why not just hook the two up?”

  9. Inappropriate comment for this posting by Alan Scott was removed.

  10. eyes wide open

    Merry christmas to you and yours norbrook.

    Keep on shining.