Unless area residents dig a little deeper into pockets that may seem to have little left to give, the hungry and homeless of the Mahoning and Shenango valleys may have even less to be thankful for this Thanksgiving than in years past.
With the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley reporting that its pantries -- usually well stocked at this time of the year with turkeys, canned yams and other food -- are almost empty, the most needy of local citizens cannot be fed a holiday meal, if any meals at all.
The same is true at the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley and the Community Warehouse of the Shenango Valley in Farrell.
In this region, as in the rest of the United States, Americans have been unbelievably generous in responding to the call to help victims of the September 11 attacks and their families. It's understandable that many feel tapped out now, as if they've given all they can afford to give.
But if most of us think about our own Thanksgiving tables, laden with far more food than the family can consume, and about our good fortune in having a comfortable roof over our heads and an opportunity to be with loved ones, perhaps we can allocate some share of Thanksgiving dinner budget to feed those who are not as fortunate as we.
Invisible guests: What if every family were to invite an invisible guest to dinner next Thursday. If each family calculated the per person cost of their own Thanksgiving dinner and contributed just that amount to the Rescue Mission, Second Harvest or the Community Warehouse, imagine how many people could have a holiday meal to enjoy?
If whoever is doing the shopping for the family could purchase an extra can of yams or cranberry sauce or another box of stuffing mix and contribute such nonperishable items to the agencies that serve the needy, those empty shelves would soon be full again.
The holidays are often the most difficult time for those in need -- especially for families who have fallen on hard times. Thanksgiving is a time to remember the ways in which we are blessed. It is , indeed, more blessed to give than to receive.