On this Thanksgiving holiday, as we sit down with family and friends to share both good food and conversation, let’s not forget the thousands all over the world who are less fortunate.
Nationwide, one recent survey estimated that over 564,000 of our fellow Americans are homeless, nearly half of them with families. Nearly 50,000 are our veterans and one-quarter are children. Here in Maine, early last year one estimate set the number of homeless at a little over one thousand, although there is really no way to accurately determine on any given day how many have no shelter. We pray that all of them get to enjoy a very special holiday meal provided by one of the state’s wonderful organizations.
A lot of families are struggling to put food on the table this Thanksgiving, just as they are every year. Again, some statistics show as many as 45 million Americans, or 14.5 percent, are living below the poverty level. Here in Maine, over 172,000 are fighting to make ends meet. The biggest victims are often single parents forced to work long hours to keep their heads above water; nationally, 13.5 million are currently raising 21 million children.
We’re pleased to be able to say that in our own area, caring for those less fortunate is a practice that is not only alive, but well. We’re quick to step in and help those in need whatever the reason, be it finding them an apartment, a safe place to stay to get out of a domestic violence situation, money to pay for a fuel delivery, or a voucher to purchase food. We have an ideal network of caregivers, volunteers, clergy, police, town officials and others who work very hard to make sure nobody falls through the cracks. Our wonderful Boothbay Region Community Resources should be a shining example for the state and nation in how to successfully bring various organizations and individuals together to best meet a variety of needs. They go about their work quietly, helping our friends and neighbors, as well as newcomers, find the help they seek.
They can’t do it without our donations of time and money, however. When you help yourself to another slice of turkey and loosen your belt to make room for that piece of pie, remember those who will need your help in the days and months ahead and vow to do what you can to help make their lives a little better.