Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let's Put the Giving Back in Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year as it brings together family, fellowship and feasting (and yes, the 4th "f" and a very important one- football). Most importantly, though, Thanksgiving reminds me to count my blessings - and I hope it does the same for you.

Thanks to our farmers and ranchers, America is home to the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply in the world. Here in Texas, we've had the added good fortune of a statewide economy that's weathered the national recession better than most other states. While America remains the land of plenty and Texas stands tall in many respects, our state and nation still struggle with the issue of hunger.

Just last week, a United States Department of Agriculture report found that food insecurity ratings in America remain the highest they've been in the 15 years since the government began tracking such statistics. Those statistics translate to 17.4 million U.S. households that do not have consistent, dependable access to sufficient food.

In Texas, the news is not much better. With more than 17 percent of Texas households considered food insecure – a rate that is significantly higher than the national average – Texas ranks among the top states for food insecurity. With a $100 billion agriculture industry hard at work each day, Texas is a powerhouse of productivity, which makes our hunger situation unacceptable and even more troubling.

As you gather to feast with family and friends this Thanksgiving, please be mindful of our hungry neighbors. Consider donating time, money or food to your local food bank. Thanksgiving often prompts a wave of welcome goodwill, but hunger persists 365 days each year. Let today be the day you put the giving back in Thanksgiving.

Happy Thanksgiving, Texas.

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