FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – It was a day of giving Tuesday, during a time when the need is great.
The Fort Lauderdale’s Black Police Officer Association delivered Thanksgiving dinner to 1,700 people, which is twice as many as last year.
“A little blessing,” says Quanda Akins, who received one of those turkey meals. “It makes one feel like they mean something, like they matter.”
Akins says it has been a challenging year. She gave birth during the pandemic, just as her husband lost his job due to COVID.
“There’s so much loss happening: loss of jobs, loss of income, loss of benefits loss of housing,” says Jami Young, a mental health therapist. “For many, many people, their basic needs are threatened or in question.”
With money tight, resources strapped, and not being able to see many loved ones in person, it can all take a serious mental toll.
“It is a time of crisis for a lot of people,” Young says. “This time over the holidays, we are supposed to be with family and enjoying the benefits of our lives, many of us don’t have that now.”
She says it is vital that people acknowledge the reality of their situations, and if you need help, it is important to ask.
That was the cases for James Rorie, who also received a Thanksgiving meal. He says he’s never had to ask for help before, but he and his wife both got laid off this year.
“It’s very difficult,” Rorie says. “Being the man of my household, I’ve always been able to provide and do for my kids and wife.”
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Other events Tuesday included “Feast for the Streets” in Overtown, as they handed out more than 500 dinners, as well as the Miami Dolphins food relief program at Hard Rock Stadium.
According to a study by market research company Onepoll, four in ten Americans have reported food insecurity for the first time during the pandemic.
A simple way to help improve the view of your own situation, Young says, is actually to turn the attention outward, and give back to someone else.
“It is important to take care of ourselves, but it always feels good to do for someone else,” she notes.
That really is the message of the holidays, and this year, it may hit closer to home than ever.
There is a drive-thru food distribution scheduled Wednesday morning from 9-11 a.m. at the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, located at 4200 Biscayne Blvd.