Editorial: Before you lift your fork, consider all your blessings
Nov. 22, 2017 at 9:34 p.m.
Before you load up your plate and cover it with gravy, take a few moments to appreciate the abundance laid out before you.
Whether your Thanksgiving feast is a precursor to a day at the movies, a family game night or shopping, count your blessings as you pass the dressing. Be grateful for the green beans. Gobble up plenty of turkey. Don't forget the gravy.
Take a look around the table at your family and count the blessings each of them brings. Go ahead and have seconds, if you wish, and head back for thirds after a little nap.
But whatever you do, especially today, please remember to show some gratitude. Let none of us forget that even in this rich land that has given us so much, and amid a rebounding economy, there remains so much want, so much hunger, so much need.
One in five people in Gregg County live in homes with too little food, according to data from Feeding Texas, and nearly 27 percent of our children live in those homes. That is slightly worse than the statewide rates — and Texas is worse off than the nation.
According to census data, more than 18 percent of Gregg County residents live below the poverty line — a rate higher than the national average of less than 15 percent. In such homes, three balanced, nutritious meals a day are out of the question without some assistance.
So about 19,000 county residents apply for food stamps each month, and despite what some politicians proclaim, most recipients are not buying lobster. Far from it. The amount of those monthly benefits comes out to about $1.20 per meal per person.
So give thanks today as well for living in a community that strives to take care of those less fortunate. Join us in being grateful for all those who donated time and treasure to provide and distribute meals for a record number of families through Longview's annual Thanksgiving Food Drive. Give thanks for the feasts put on by churches, shelters and missions. Realize there are countless other acts of kindness of which we will never be aware. Be mindful, too, that when their leftovers are gone, many of today's recipient families will be back to wondering where their next meals are coming from.
Give thanks for the programs, both public and private, that provide food for students at schools and those that work to ensure they are fed at home over weekends.
So by all means head back to the table for another slice of pumpkin pie. But remember that good, healthful food is a privilege that should not be taken for granted. That's all the more reason to be thankful for what you have and who you're with this Thanksgiving.
From the News-Journal family to you and yours, we wish you a blessed day of plenty — and of thoughtful gratitude.