Happy Thanksgiving to All

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love that our family is gathered together with nothing on the agenda except catching up and eating a meal. I even love preparing the meal – an activity that seems to take over the entire week.

This year, each of my children is laying claim to a special part of the holiday – decorating, a new sweet potato recipe, the relish plate and the green bean casserole. My parents will compete in their annual pumpkin pie contest to see if the standard or spicy pie will be the preferred dessert. By the end of the weekend, some of us will be sick of watching football and some will just be getting warmed up. All of us will have counted the many things that we are thankful for this year.

But as much as I love Thanksgiving, there is a bittersweet note to the holiday. While my children look forward to a break from school and the festivities on Thursday, a large number of children in our state dread the hunger that comes with days away from the school nutrition program. In fact, nearly one in five Kansas children live in poverty placing them at risk for hunger and food insecurity. Meanwhile, eligibility in our state has been reduced for family economic supports that mitigate the impact of poverty like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Child Care Assistance.

I invite you to join me in exploring ways that we can help all Kansas children look forward to Thanksgiving next year because nourishment is no longer a cause for stress but instead an everyday expectation for children in our state. The Raise Kansas initiative in Shawnee County is one example of action to end child hunger in a community. For more information, go to: http://kac.org/raisekansas/

Categories: Uncategorized