Here's something to be grateful as we turn the corner of a new year - the bountiful harvest.
If you always have food on your plate, plenty of choices in the fridge, and a full, satiated belly, don't take it for granted.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 795 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world, or one in nine, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2014-2016.
Hunger must surely have been a grave concern and possible fact of life for many of the early settlers who migrated to our great country to make a better life for themselves.
Indeed, these pioneers likely did not take survival for granted, and in this country, we've come a long way from that.
If to you, "hunger" means going longer than 3 hours without eating and then sitting down to a heaping plate… then rejoice in the blessing of good food shared with family and friends.
Where does your food come from? Have you ever thought about this?
If you grow a backyard garden, then you know where at least some parts of your meals originate from.
If you purchase meats from a local farm, then you have a greater awareness of where your food comes from than most others living in this country.
Feel blessed this year for the delicious, home-cooked meal that will grace your holiday table and fill your belly past the point of comfort.
Give thanks for thick, succulent slices of carved meats - ham, turkey, roast beef.
Give thanks for balanced and flavorful vegetarian selections if you opt to not eat some or all animal products.
Give thanks for takeout, prepared foods, and the drive-through… for those times when you don't have time to prepare a home-cooked meal.
Give thanks for delicious, home-baked cookies, pies, birthday cakes, puddings, oh my!
You needn't be religious to stop and give thanks for the bounty of goodness that graces your table and fills your belly.
Consider the very great effort, the many steps, the time, and the detailed work that was put into cultivating, harvesting, and transporting our food from farm to table to plate.
Exercise: Ease Hunger for Another
We can do so much more than simply clasp our hands and bow our heads in gratitude around the dinner table.
This year, make plans to donate cans of food, so that the less fortunate may partake of a hot and nourishing meal over this long and often dreary winter.
Most schools, churches, and many other organizations run programs that allow you to drop off canned and packaged items.
If you want to take it even further, how about volunteering at a soup kitchen?
Suppose you work at a restaurant, grocery store, or another food establishment. How much food gets tossed into the garbage at the end of another day?
Consider if there is a way to preserve this food so that it may be offered to those who can benefit from its nourishment.
This could be a wonderful way to share your giving spirit and make a difference for people in need.
Make a list of all the ways you can offer food to the hungry. Commit to a plan. Make it happen. Feeding the hungry is a way to nourish your own soul.
May You Be Well