Chances are good your Thanksgiving table will have all the fixings — potatoes, stuffing, pie, and especially a turkey. We eat all this because it’s tradition, except the first feast between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe members didn’t have potatoes. Or stuffing. Or especially pie. And while turkeys were found in New England at the time, they weren’t a popular dish, so that likely wasn’t shared either.
But why let history get in the way of what many of us grew up on?
Thanksgiving is a holiday where the average feaster consumes more than 4,500 calories — the equivalent of eight Big Macs — and leads to the kind of coma that is typically cured only by football on television.
The holiday became a national one celebrated at the end of November thanks to Sarah Josepha Hale — who also brought us “Mary Had a Little Lamb” — who convinced President Abraham Lincoln to formalize the holiday at the federal level in 1863.
Yet it’s not all about food. It’s about being thankful. For life. For happiness. For our family. For the hope that someday the New York Jets will win a game. And to go full circle, for the feast in front of us.
But for some 17 million children, they may get very little to eat or nothing at all. That’s according to the national food bank Feeding America, about children here in America.
We live in one of the richest countries in the world, yet it’s the same country where our most innocent have bellies that won’t stop growling. What’s worse, Americans waste 40 percent of the food they do have, according to reports, with hundreds of millions just tossed aside on Thanksgiving Day alone.
It’s the kind of gluttony we should be embarrassed about. But we aren’t helpless.
This is when each and every one of us can make a difference. Whether it’s bringing a bunch of canned goods to the Part of the Solution food pantry on Webster Avenue, simply filling a neighborhood Friendly Fridge, or donating something — anything — to a number of local charities dedicated to ensuring no one goes hungry, you really can help.
But it starts with you. Reach out to POTS at (718) 220-4892. Do a search online, you’ll find so many others.
Be thankful, and help someone else be thankful, too.