23 November 2013

The Poorest City in America

As we lead up to Thanksgiving, I’m going to devote the next few days' blogs to something I’m grateful for and the $10 will go to a local mission serving a Thanksgiving meal. I’ve pretty much depleted the Los Angeles missions, so I’m giving to food banks or missions in the poorest cities in the U.S.  
I have friends and family who keep gratitude journals and every day they write down what they’re thankful for. Sometimes it’s 10 things, sometimes it’s 5. Sometimes they’ve had such a rotten day, they can only come up with one. But they realize that there is always something for which they are grateful. It’s a meaningful way to start or end the day, but I’ve just never gotten into that habit.
However, my daily blog has served the same purpose in many ways this year. Every time I give to a homeless person, I’m reminded to be grateful that I have a roof over my head. When I give to an organization fighting disease, I’m thankful I don’t have that illness. When I give to victims of a disaster, I feel gratitude that, for today, I’m not the one standing in line getting a blanket from the Red Cross.
That’s the other thing a gratitude journal, and this blog, do: they aren’t just reminders of reasons why your life is probably pretty good, despite certain trials and tribulations. They’re a reminder to stay in the present. For today, these are the things I’m grateful for. For today, these are the burdens that I don’t have to carry - so maybe by donating a little bit of money today, I can slightly alleviate that burden for the person shouldering it today. Something I’m very grateful for today may be taken away from me and it’s a reminder to be in the moment and not to take precious gifts for granted. 
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poorest city in America is Brownsville, Texas and its neighbor, Harlingen. A whopping 36% of the citizens of Brownsville live below the poverty level and 37% don’t have the equivalent of a high school diploma. It’s not too hard to see a cause and effect there, is it? 
Today’s $10 goes to The Food Bank of Brownsville, Texas. Part of what the Food Bank does is provide backpacks full of food to children in Brownsville who are homeless. 

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