As we pause this week to celebrate Thanksgiving, let’s remember that dreams of the future shouldn’t diminish appreciation for the present. If all you do is concentrate on what you want, you won’t enjoy today. Don’t be jealous of others; what they do or have has no bearing on you.

If our leaders hold on to the American values of decency, tolerance and gratefulness, it will be reassuring because those values are what make America a great nation.

Because of years of immigration, the face of America is changing. With that thought in mind, here are a few things David Cross of Louisville, Kentucky, asks us to think about and give thanks for the blessings we have been given.

If you’re a Christian, be thankful that you can wear religious paraphernalia in public without being harassed, teased or forced to leave airplanes because of paranoid Islamophobes.

If you’re white, be thankful that you’re much less likely to be stopped, searched, detained or have violence used against you during a traffic stop. You also probably won’t have to deal with security guards following you through department stores.

If you’re not Latino, be thankful that you don’t have to carry proof of citizenship with you everywhere you go for fear that you’ll be detained and deported from your own country.

If you’re male, be thankful that religious fanatics aren’t trying to shut down the clinic where you go to get your annual exam, your cancer screenings or your prescriptions. You also don’t have to deal with people harassing you as you go to your appointments.

Remember, it’s the little things that make some people’s lives so privileged and spoiled, and you should be thankful for them.

The following is an essay I clipped from another publication about 15 years ago. It is titled “Everyday Thanksgiving.”

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings each morning, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are those who are deaf and cannot hear life’s simple pleasures!

The Prophet Mohammed said: “One who is not grateful to others is not grateful to God.”

Even though I keep my eyes tightly closed against the morning light as long as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. There are many who are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off the physical effort of rising, thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedfast.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, tempers are short, thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in the magazines and the menu is, at times, unbalanced, thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day, and wish my circumstances were not quite so modest, thank you, Lord, for the gift of life.

Those are pleasures and gifts we should be thankful for every day of the year, not just one day in November.

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While most Americans are enjoying a Thanksgiving feast this weekend, it is a good time to remember that at least one in 10 people in our communities don’t have enough to eat, according to food pantry officials.

It’s hard to believe people go hungry when about 40 percent of the food supply in the U.S. is never eaten, according to researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

Food is wasted all along the supply chain; from grocers, restaurants, caterers and food manufacturers. Despite all the wasted food, many food pantries have to make purchases for food because they either can’t find it or there isn’t adequate donations in their communities.

Individuals can’t donate household leftovers to pantries in many states because of food safety regulations. A local food pantry board member told me that they are forced to dispose of a high percentage of donated items because the items have exceeded ‘the sell by’ date.

State and federal laws prohibit the donation of some food items. Many food pantries are forced to refuse many perishable surplus food items because they do not have storage space or enough refrigeration units. Getting surplus food to where it is needed is the challenge.

Locally, officials believe more than 20 percent of children are living in poverty, and families struggle to put food on the table. The highest levels of food insecurity, 79 percent, is found in rural counties.

To tackle the problems with childhood hunger, many community groups are working to make sure students get food through free and reduced breakfast and lunch programs while in school. Local churches provide backpacks to supplement family food supplies on the weekends.

Many schools have what is called ‘The Locker’ in the school to provide food when kids are hungry. School officials love this program. Without exception, a child will score much better on a test, and do better in the classroom, when he or she is not dealing with hunger issues.