A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Candace McGraw: Let’s work together so our neighbors have plenty to eat and a safe place to live

As Thanksgiving soon approaches, I, like many of you, am blessed to be looking forward to spending time with family and friends over a delicious dinner of turkey and pumpkin pie.

Unfortunately, there are too many of our neighbors who will not spend the holiday in a warm, safe, dry place surrounded by family and an abundance of food.

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is held the week before Thanksgiving each year to draw attention to the very serious issues of hunger and homelessness. In a country and community as blessed as ours, no one should have to worry about whether they will have food on their plates or a roof over their heads.

The reality is both staggering and heartbreaking:
• 43.1 million Americans live below the poverty level
• 549,000 Americans are homeless on a typical night
• 42 million Americans are at risk of suffering from hunger
• 41,000 Bed nights were provided to those experiencing homelessness in Northern Kentucky last year
We need to commit that this is not acceptable in our community. We can and must do better to serve those less fortunate than most of us. 

There are many groups in our community who are marking this Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week by holding a series of educational, service, fundraising, and advocacy events. I encourage you to check out these activities and learn how you can help by visiting www.facebook.com/nkyHHweek.
In my role as CEO of CVG, a major employer in the region, I have seen firsthand how economic growth and opportunity can assist someone to realize their full potential and put them on the road to self-sufficiency.

If, however, someone lacks stable housing or is going to bed hungry, it becomes immensely more difficult to hold down a job, go to school, or raise a family.

Accessible transportation, education, housing, health care, and economic development are all interrelated and are vital components to building a sustainable and welcoming community.
This time of year offers all of us an opportunity to think about what we are thankful for, the perfect time to share our compassion with our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness.

Let’s work together to become a community where no one has to experience hunger or homelessness.
Candace McGraw is CEO of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG).

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