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Opinion | Thanksgiving reality

Alabama is in the top 10 percent of American households who experience hunger.


I am thankful all year long for so many things, but I am most thankful for Thanksgiving Day. It is a time set aside specifically for reflection and gratitude. It is a time when there is more than the traditional turkey and dressing dinner on the table.

There are roofs over most of our heads and clothes on our bodies and a paycheck coming in for most of us. There are family members and friends with whom to share and a great deal more for which to be thankful: freedom, good health and living in the greatest country on the face of the earth.

So, why am I most thankful? I am most thankful for God who loves me unconditionally and gives to me freely despite my faults. He is on call 24/7 and provides all my needs — not all my wants, but all my needs, and that is more than sufficient and better than I deserve.

Then there is my family — two sons God blessed me with, my mother and two brothers and all their families. Then there is my grandson – did I say my grandson? There are many friends whom I love and enjoy spending time with too. The list goes on and on and probably sounds a lot like your list: houses, cars, jobs, clothes, etc.

But while we are enjoying our Thanksgiving meal, and recognizing everything we have to be thankful for, we need to remember to pray for the 3,970 homeless people that have been documented in our state. We also need to remember the 788,250 people who are facing hunger — 226,310 of them are children. One in 5 children in Alabama face hunger. That is a sad reality.

Alabama is in the top 10 percent of American households who experience hunger. In all, 19.2 percent of Alabama’s population is food insecure, which easily equates to 919,670 people.

This is not reported to make anyone feel guilty, but to bring us all a good dose of Thanksgiving reality to see how blessed we really are and how less fortunate others are. It is to encourage you to stop and pray for these people on Thanksgiving Day and to encourage you to help in some way if you can — a donation to a food bank, a homeless shelter, the Salvation Army, etc.

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Canned goods, clothing and cash are always needed and welcomed.

On a much brighter note, our state has a tremendous number of foundations, corporations and individuals who give back and help the people mentioned above. Proudly, Alabama is one of the most giving states in the nation as well.

Be thankful this year — not for my list, but for yours. But please pause to pray for those less fortunate. They need something for which to be thankful too, and you or some random act of kindness may just be that blessing.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Beth Chapman is the former Alabama state auditor and 51st secretary of state. She now owns and operates Beth Chapman & Associates LLC. She can be reached at [email protected].

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