One winter, a number of years ago, my young family’s carefully calibrated life wobbled. My husband and I had an infant and a toddler, an exorbitant double day-care bill, and two modest-paying jobs. After our second baby came we made the decision to take out a loan to help us pay for child care until our first daughter made it to kindergarten. It caused our debt load to spike, but without the loan we couldn’t meet our monthly costs. It paid for groceries, gas, heat.
Then came the recession, almost overnight. One day, not far from Christmas, a letter arrived from our bank regarding the extra loan. We’re sorry to inform you, the letter said, but things have changed here in the banking world and your loan is null and void.
Suddenly we were not a middle-class, median-income family. We were not college-educated young parents and professionals. We were people who might need help, a very normal family on the brink of food insecurity — just like the families you’ll learn about in our feature Food for All.
In the end, there was a last-minute save: My husband got a new job, which could better support us. But for hundreds of thousands of Washington state families, the only thing preventing them from going hungry is the network of safety-net programs. Statewide, Northwest Harvest estimates, a staggering one in five kids lives in a family suffering with food insecurity or hunger. These could be any of our children. And in many ways, they are our children. Learn how to help, and where to find help.
This month we also offer tools to make this season of giving restful and delightful. Are you worried your sweet little nose-picker will never be ready for the adult table? Check our etiquette guide to learn what manners to focus on when. And whether you’re crafty or not, our DIY gift guide will inspire you with seven easy ideas for handmade holiday gifts that are upcycled, recycled and ever-so-clever — and can be made by kids. Finally, for inspiration, a call to action and maybe a few tears, read our gripping Q&A with Shannon Watts , who, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, launched a movement of moms that has changed the conversation around gun safety.
Have a meaningful, bountiful Thanksgiving, surrounded by those you love.