Like millions of Americans, I will join family and friends this holiday season to share meals, conversation and to count our blessings. We’ll take a moment to thank the men and women in uniform serving our country overseas – and also those who produced the food on our tables.
During this time of celebration and good cheer, we should also look out for those less fortunate than we are. This year at USDA, we provided critical nutrition assistance to one in four Americans during a time of record need. But our work only goes so far. That is why I want to encourage Americans to help fight hunger and poverty and to support those struggling to feed themselves and their families.
There are many ways to help. You can donate food, resources or your time to a local food bank. You can connect with others in your church, place of worship, work or community to serve at a soup kitchen. You can prepare a meal to be served to those in need. For some ideas about local volunteer opportunities try going online to www.serve.gov. Or if you or anyone you know needs food this season, call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY.
We can all work to help those in need. As we do, we’ll build a stronger future for our children and our country. Even in these tough times, there is so much to celebrate this Christmas and holiday season. So on behalf of the USDA, I want to wish you and your family joyous holidays and a happy new year.
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At Central Illinois Foodbank, we've seen an increase of 40% over the past 2 years of people seeking aid from the agencies we partner with. Recent studies from Feeding America and the Howard G. Buffet Foundation show that 1 in 4 children in our area are food insecure- meaning they are not sure where their next meal will come from.
We also encourage people to give during the holiday season, but also to remember that hunger exists 365 days a year. It takes a community effort to make sure no family goes hungry not only during the holidays, but throughout the year.