First comes Halloween, then comes Thanksgiving, then comes my birthday, and then comes Hanukkah and Christmas. This is by far my favorite time of year. This is the time of year when I get to sit down, relax, and hang out with all of my family and friends. This time is not only my favorite, but it is also very special to me. This is the time when all of my family comes over at once and we get to talk, catch up, cook, and eat. Thanksgiving is not only a holiday where we get to sit at the dinner table and eat turkey. It is also the holiday where we get to sit down and be grateful for the family and friends that surround us, and we get to be grateful for food that is in front of us.
I have been surrounded with family, friends, shelter, and food for all of my life. It was like I was living in a protected bubble. My eyes were first opened to the hunger that is all around us when I volunteered at the Los Angeles Regional Food bank (LARFB) with my parents and their office. I was speechless. I did not know that people all over L.A. went with minimal food their whole lives. What really got to me was when I found out that a lot of children in the county have been facing and battling hunger since the day they were born. All I wanted to do was help them right away because no person, let alone a child, should have to deal with hunger each and every day. That was when I developed a passion for helping people that are in need.
I have been volunteering at SOVA, a local food pantry, since my amazing experience at LARFB, and my goal is to help educate and to inform my generation of the hardships we may not see that are happening all around us. I am using my social media accounts to help spread the word, and I have been talking to my peers about hunger and ways to get involved and help stop it.
This Thanksgiving when we sit down at our dinner tables, we need to be grateful for the food that is in front of us. We need to think of the people that are less fortunate than us and that cannot celebrate Thanksgiving with all of the food that they deserve.
Here are some ways to get involved and make a difference:
- Volunteer at your local foodbank or homeless shelter
- Find a local soup kitchen who needs your help this holiday season
- In addition to serving and packing food, food banks and soup kitchens are always looking for donations such as:
- Canned Goods
- Personal Care
- Clothing – Hats, mittens, and scarfs
Please always contact your local food bank or pantry to ask what donations would be most helpful to provide.
Jordan Appelbaum is a high school freshman and resides in Calabasas, CA.