This is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week; it is co-sponsored each year by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness. Observed one week before Thanksgiving, NHHAW's aim is to bring awareness and promote efforts to end homelessness and hunger in communities across the nation.
The poor have friends, one of whom is Michelle Forrest, in Greensboro. Among other things, Michelle is a mom, and though StreetWatch, an advocate for the poor. She's a blogger and a web designer and member of the NightWatch and DayWatch street outreach teams.
She and her friends know the pain of bare shelves and the blessing of sacrifice. They know requests for food and financial assistance are up everywhere and they know donations are down. In their compassion, they worry that the homeless and hungry, whose needs outweighed provisions at the top of the boom, will be those who will ride the bust the longest. They don't worry alone.
After hosting a one day food drive at last year's workshop, extending it for the entire Thanksgiving/Christmas season seemed like the right thing to do. Although no one had experienced then the cratering retirement accounts and plummeting home prices we experience now, still the greater portion of donated food came from hands who could least afford to give it. Most plastic grocery store bags contained just one or two items, and from Food Lion not Fresh Market; some bags still had the cash register receipts showing what had been purchased was paid for with cash not plastic.
I just read that during some of the worst of times, giving remained strong. Even during the great depression, the NY Times reported charitable giving more than doubled from 1933 to 1941.
Let's hope the same will be said of this generation.