Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I write this week's blog, I'm packing my bags, baking an apple pie and some brownie bars, and looking forward to spending time at our family's ranch in Hamilton.  Most of you are also going through the motions and preparations for Thanksgiving Day.  Hopefully you've avoided those LONG lines at the grocery store, bought your turkey early and are now dreaming about indulging on pumpkin pie and a lot of couch time. That alone is a lot to be thankful for as we gather around our dinner tables on Thanksgiving Day.  Others in our community might not have that perfect feast we have envisioned in our heads.  Families throughout San Antonio might not have the opportunity to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at all.

On November 4, some of our Junior League of San Antonio members volunteered at the San Antonio Food Bank to prepare Thanksgiving meal packages for the less fortunate.  The Junior League has partnered with The San Antonio Food Bank for years and if you haven't had a chance to volunteer at this San Antonio non-profit organization you need to put it on your "to do" list.

I recently spoke to Veronica Laurel, Communications Manager of the San Antonio Food Bank, and she provided me with some sobering statistics of hunger in our own community.

*The San Antonio Food Bank is currently providing emergency food assistance to more than 58,000 individuals each week.
*17.9 percent of Texans lived under the poverty level in 2010.
*16.3 percent of the San Antonio Food Banks service area population are food insecure- meaning they don't know where their next meal will come from.
*29.2 percent of children in Bexar Country are food insecure
(that's 1 in 3 children)
*46 percent of households the Food Bank serves have at least one working adult in the family
*36 percent of their clients are children
*14 percent of their clients are seniors
*If you donate just $1, the Food Bank can turn that donation into 7 meals, 10 pounds of food or $13 worth of grocery product.
*Volunteers are always needed to sort food in the warehouse, work in the garden, and help prepare meals in their kitchen.

Veronica encourages us all to organize a food drive at our workplaces, schools, churches, or in our neighborhood.

As you are enjoying this year's turkey feast and fighting over who gets the lucky drumstick, be thankful we have great organizations in our community such as San Antonio Food Bank and the Junior League of San Antonio.  The holidays are upon us and if you are looking for a way to spread your thankfulness this year think about donating time or food to our local food bank.

Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Honoring ALL Who Served

JLSA blogger Jessica McAnelly reminds us how our military members and veterans should always be close to our hearts in the Alamo City.

Veterans Day always falls on November 11, the day that formally ended the hostilities of World War I. It is the day set aside to honor and thank ALL who have served in the military for the United States. We will show appreciation for our heroes' contributions, for the sacrifices they made, and for our daily freedom. All around our country, on 11-11-11 at 11 a.m., churches, VFW Halls, schools and civic organizations will be celebrating our veterans and giving thanks to ALL who served.  Flags of red, white, and blue will be hung and pride will be felt throughout our great nation.  Where will you be at 11 today and who will you honor?

When I first started this blog, and was interviewing our fellow Junior League members, I kept asking who they will be honoring,  "Will you be honoring your father, husband, or grandfather, this Veterans Day?" One of our new members, Diane Miller, pointed out to me something wasn't quite right with my question: what about   ALL who served? She's right. What about the great women who have served our country? We should not forget the women who have served their country in the armed forces. Diane mentioned they might be our next-door neighbors, a mother from a playgroup we have joined, our sisters, cousins, a high school classmate, or even a Junior League of San Antonio member.

Diane, who spent six years serving in the Air Force, says, "I had the privilege and honor of knowing many a woman who sacrificed time taking care of their own needs, and time with their children and husbands to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of these women even had mothers that served in the military." She continued, "I feel confident in saying that as a female, and a veteran, I am proud of my time in the military."

In 2007, the VA estimated that there would be 1.8 million female veterans by 2010. That is a humbling statistic when I think about how blessed I am to spend the holidays with my loved ones this year, while others, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters may be spending their holidays on the front lines for United States of America!

On Veterans Day, spend time honoring not only your own loved one connected to the military but  ALL who have served our country and remember to honor the men and women veterans who have sacrificed so much for us!

Thank you so much, Diane, for your service. We honor you and thank you for your insight and for making our community a better place.