by Sherrod Brown, U.S. Senator (D-Ohio)
As we prepare to give thanks this holiday season, it’s critical that we don’t lose sight of the many American families who are struggling to make ends meet.
Earlier this week, I visited a food pantry in Northeast Ohio where I asked the volunteers if any of them ever faced hunger. One man raised his hand. He explained how he was raised in a household where his father was ill and out-of-work, and his mother struggled to provide for the family with her sole income as a dressmaker. He spent many days without a proper meal. Yet today, he serves Ohioans in need at the Akron Food Pantry, motivated to help people like him whose stories are too easily forgotten.
In Ohio and across the nation, there is anxiety and apprehension, frustrations rightfully borne from economic insecurity. But at our best, we channel those frustrations – and our aspirations – to pursue a common purpose and shared prosperity.
Whether in good economic times or bad, our common purpose is clear when Ohio families struggle to put food on the table. These households face a daily risk of hunger, denying too many children the healthy and active lifestyle they deserve. There are even greater barriers in rural and Appalachian Ohio, where children and adults live far away from food banks and food pantries.
With the demand for services on the rise – yesterday’s food bank donors are today’s recipients – we must also work toward strengthening our shared prosperity. We need to meet such a demand with more resources and more volunteers for our food banks and pantries. We must ensure that dislocated workers receive the unemployment insurance they’ve already paid into, so they have the means to look for new jobs and provide for their families. And we need to build on the past 10 months of private sector job creation to ensure more Ohioans can find good-paying jobs.
In April 1790, George Washington wrote “for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”
It is this inclusive national spirit that has long denied bigotry and persecution sanction or assistance. It is defended by our service members, veterans, and their families for all of whom we are forever grateful. And it is this spirit of solidarity embodied in a dressmaker’s son in Akron who understands the pangs of hunger and the power of volunteerism.
During this time of giving thanks and goodwill, Connie and I wish all Ohioans a Happy Thanksgiving, joyous holiday season, and safe and prosperous New Year.
Making Every Day
Like most people, I love the festive atmosphere of Thanksgiving. The spirit of this special day seems to put everyone in a good mood. But, like so many of our national holidays, I doubt that many people reflect on its purpose.
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