WENTWORTH: Counting our blessings and sharing our bounty


AUSTIN, Texas – Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on and give thanks for our many blessings. I'm thankful that we live in a country where we are free to believe and worship as we choose. I'm thankful that our elections are conducted with words and ballots and not war and bullets.

I'm thankful for my wife of 31 years, Karla, and our two sons. And I'm thankful for the people of Senate District 25 who placed their trust and confidence in me to represent them in the Texas Senate for the last 20 years.

I'm thankful that my family is able enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving meal. At the same time, I am mindful that many people, especially our military men and women, are away from their families for this special holiday. And many families don't have the means to feast on turkey and dressing, fresh vegetables and salad, and pumpkin or pecan pies.

Texans are compassionate people, and we share with those who have less. To provide food for those in need, please volunteer your time or make a monetary donation to a local food bank for Thanksgiving. The first two food banks established in Texas are in Senate District 25. The San Antonio Food Bank, which serves Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe and Kendall counties, among others, opened in 1979. The second was the Capital Area Food Bank, opened in 1982. It serves Hays and Travis Counties.

Through distribution partners such as churches, social service organizations, senior centers, group homes, shelters and soup kitchens, these two food banks serve more than 300,000 individuals in need every year.

In Kendall County, for instance, the Hill Country Daily Bread Ministries works through local churches and organizations to distribute food. In Hays County, the County Food Bank distributes food from Capital Area Food Bank.

To learn how you may help in your area, please visit www.safoodbank.org or www.austinfoodbank.org.

There are other ways that you can make someone's holiday a happier one. I recently wrote about Texans helping our veterans every day of the year. If you live in Bexar County, I encourage you to express your gratitude to active duty military men and women by inviting them to join you for your home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.

More than a thousand Lackland AFB recruits are waiting for San Antonio area families to volunteer as holiday hosts. Lackland's Operation Homecooking has matched recruits with families for the past 36 years. This year, it has matched more than 1,660 airmen with families, but more families are needed.

Reservations are required to host trainees. The base phone bank expects to be open until November 23. I encourage you to call (210) 671-5453 to provide a real family dinner for young recruits who are far from home. It would mean a great deal to them, and you will receive much more than you give.

Best wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving.

This column was written by State Sen. Jeff Wentworth.