Welcome to our day before Thanksgiving experience. Today we’re going to take a look at a great blue heron, snowy egret and some massive gull action from last month at Four Mile Beach. Locals love this spot-it’s a surfer’s paradise. You never know what you’ll find at Four Mile but there’s usually something going on on the aviary front.
Speaking of birds, a massive amount of turkey is going to be consumed on this upcoming holiday. Actually, the first turkeys eaten by the Pilgrims weren’t really wild. They just went crazy when they found out what they were planning on doing to them. On a more sobering note, according to a study by the Agriculture Department, more than 35.5 million people in the United States went hungry in 2006 as they struggled to find jobs that can support them. This figure was virtually unchanged from the previous year as single mothers and their children were among the most likely to suffer.
The 35.5 million people represented more than 1 in 10 who said they did not have enough money for food for at least some time during the year. 11.1 million of these people reported they had “very low food security,” meaning they had a substantial disruption in the amount of food they typically eat. Among these findings from the department’s annual hunger survey about families, a third of those facing disruption said an in the family did not eat for a whole day because they could not afford it.
The survey was based on Census Bureau data and does not include the homeless. About three-quarters of a million people were homeless on a given day in 2005, according to federal estimates. According to my estimates, that seems a little low.
The states most effected by families with hunger issues were Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas and South Carolina. According to Vicki Escarra, president of the nation’s largest relief group, America’s Second Harvest-The Nation’s Food Bank Network, “This report comes at a critical time for hungry Americans. There simply may be no food for many families when the rest of the nation gathers to celebrate Thanksgiving and religious holidays.” Moving a little closer to home, one in four families in Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties will experience hunger this winter. If you’re interested, every $1 donated to Second Harvest provides 5 meals to those who are hungry. It seems like a very worthy cause.
This report is just a reminder of what a lot of Americans are facing during the upcoming holidays and how lucky the rest of us are. So as we head into the holiday of unlimited stuffing, here’s a little Thanksgiving humor. A turkey farmer was always experimenting with breeding to perfect a better turkey. His family was fond of the drumsticks and there was never enough legs for everybody. After many frustrating attempts, the farmer told his friends, “Well, I finally did it. I bred a turkey with 6 legs.” They asked him how it tasted. Replied the farmer, “I don’t know. I could never catch the darn thing.”
So enjoy your family, friends and many sporting events over the holiday weekend. Be grateful for the simple things in life and try not to take all we are blessed with for granted. And remember, Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce rules. Catch you after the holiday. Enjoy the birds.