Thanksgiving is a time to come together with family and friends to feast in good company. It is the one day a year reserved for expressing gratitude – for family and friends, health and careers, homes and means. But many Americans will not share in such plentiful abundance.
One in six Americans lives in poverty and the issue of hunger persists in neighborhoods in both rural and urban America. Yet citizens are uniting to help one another, ensuring malnourished children, families, and individuals have access to quality food.
From children and seniors to the increasing number of working poor, hunger affects close to a million individuals throughout the Delaware Valley in Pennsylvania. Philabundance, an AmeriCorps program in Philadelphia, is creating innovative solutions to address food security.
Philabundance provides food to approximately 65,000 people a week, serving low income residents at risk of hunger and malnutrition, 23% of which are children. Recognizing that more than a quarter of the food in the United States goes to waste each year, Philabundance collaborates with a diverse group of partners, from local businesses to grocery stores, to funnel food that might be headed for the trash can into their donation bins.
Grocers Against Hunger, one of Philabundance's most successful initiatives, increases emergency food distribution by collecting food from participating grocers that would otherwise be thrown away.
By collaborating with the food industry, the organization is reaching more people than ever, helping families and individuals gain access to nutritious meals.
With the help of a few good AmeriCorps members, Grocers Against Hunger has thrived since its creation in 2006, resulting in the collection of more than 6.4 million pounds of food. In 2011 alone, the program has collected more than 2.6 million pounds.
The issue of hunger is often on our minds during the holiday season, but for 48.8 million Americans hunger is daily battle fought year-round. As we give thanks for the blessings in our own lives, consider sharing some of the bounty with those who need it most, on Thanksgiving and beyond. Opportunities to volunteer, as an individual or as a family, can be found on Serve.gov.