Look for the helpers. That’s what Mr. Rogers’ said his mother (Mrs. Rogers) told him as a child:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

I was worried yesterday. Between Black Friday ads, the local news had a story about the turkey shortage in Los Angeles this Thanksgiving. Food banks here, and it’s not just LA, will not be able to provide the Thanksgiving meals to all who need them. I read that in San Francisco they have half what they need. Half.

Google “turkey shortage” and you’ll most likely see stories closer to where you live. (One good thing about Google personalizing our web searches?)

People are hungry. Not 4pm blood sugar drop grab a snack hungry. Not boredom fueled hungry. Not the kind of “I’m hungry” we complain about before pausing to style our food before we upload it to Instagram or post the recipe to Pinterest. This is the real deal. There aren’t enough donations being made. I didn’t give. Did you? I was going to. I hadn’t yet. I haven’t yet. I now will. Today.

I was watching Ken Burn’s new documentary The Dust Bowl on PBS, and I cried my way through stories of families that struggled to hold on to their dignity as they lost everything. I am grateful to Burns for giving us history lesson that textbooks never quite captured. For documenting the last generation that can speak firsthand of what took place.

Sometimes, we must look for helpers. Other times, we must look in the mirror and realize we are the helpers.

We can reduce the number of people who will be turned away from the food banks and told there will be nothing to give them. Still I know it is very possible there will not be enough. But if we can each contribute in some way, so that one person isn’t turned away empty handed, it is something. And maybe the shortage could become a surplus. So they can begin stocking up for Christmas. (Wishful thinking.)

The LA Food Bank website says that for every $1 donated, four people will receive a meal. Call your local food bank (here’s a link to Feeding America for national contact info) and find out how you might be able to contribute. A few dollars, a few cans, a few frozen turkeys, a few hours of your time. Whatever you can do, please do.

 Also, in a sort of related way, my friend Eden is in India with World Vision to document the need for humanitarian aid. I had planned to write a post about that today. About how inspiring her writing has been. How she is “be the change”-ing the hell out of life. Leaving her husband and little boys to go and give us all a reality check. After the one she gave us from Niger. To remind us all that there is a great big world out there. Starving.

We can use social media to do something. Facebook and Twitter are great tools to use to get people working together. This time of year, we can use these free tools to make things happen. What’s stopping us?

In Los Angeles. In the slums of India. People are hungry. Helpers are needed. Let’s do what we can.

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