During the holiday season, many find themselves immersed in the hustle and bustle of festive preparations. In the spirit of gratitude, families gather around bountiful tables displaying delicious dishes. Yet, for countless individuals and families, the holiday season is a painful reminder of the challenges they face in putting food on the table.
If you have been following the news, you’ve likely seen reports around the nation that food insecurity rose sharply this year. If you haven’t been following the news, you only need to drive past the Loaves & Fishes Naperville Market to see the growing number of cars waiting to receive food. We are now serving well over 8,000 people a week. One volunteer reported after his shift, “Last week, they said we hit a record number of people in one day, and today we broke that record.”
As we witness the increasing number of families in need, it compels us to reflect on the true meaning of the season. The community recognizes the need to extend a helping hand to those less fortunate. Local organizations have stepped up their efforts to address food insecurity during the holidays by organizing food drives. Businesses, too, are joining the cause by raising funds to benefit Loaves & Fishes. Community members are hosting holiday parties in their homes, and instead of the guests bringing a dish to pass, they are asked to bring diapers, a much-needed and expensive item for our clients.
Reflecting on our blessings and recognizing the pressing issue of food insecurity fosters a sense of empathy and unity within our community. As the holiday season unfolds, the hope is that the spirit of giving and goodwill will prevail, and the reflection on one’s own abundance will continue to inspire acts of kindness that make a meaningful impact on those who need our support and assistance.