This is the time of year when we reflect upon what we’re thankful for, and to be sure, that list is long. But it’s also a time for us to recognize the challenges facing so many of our neighbors, challenges that can be overcome only through the concerted efforts of everyone in our community.

While many of us are looking forward to sitting down to a large Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends, thousands of DC residents live in poverty and go hungry. Social services programs and volunteers work hard to ensure that those facing homelessness and poverty have a hot meal on Thanksgiving Day, which is wonderful, but DC residents face hunger year-round and social-service programs alone cannot meet their needs. DC has the third highest poverty rate in the nation[1], and the root causes of hunger – a lack of affordable housing, a shortage of higher-wage jobs, and inadequate access to education, to name a few – are problems that must be addressed 365 days a year. Read more about ways we can work together to end hunger and boost economic security for all members of our community here.

 With that in mind, we’d like to share a few things we’re thankful for year-round:

  •  Our clients, who trust and confide in us and invite us into their lives. The strength and grace with which they face the challenges presented to them on a daily basis is always inspiring and often awe-inducing.
  • Our volunteers, who allow us to be present in the community in ways that would otherwise be impossible. They give of their time and their talent so that the Legal Clinic can respond effectively to our clients’ needs.
  • Our board members, who work incredibly hard to assure that we have the resources we need to do the work they trust us to do.
  • Our donors, whose generous spirit makes our work possible.
  • Our colleagues in the advocacy community, who join their voices with ours to turn up the volume as we call for justice for our low- and no-income neighbors.
  • Our partners in the government, who commit their lives to public services and work hard to meet community member needs.

Last, but certainly not least, we are thankful to all of you who read this blog, share it with others, and who support us in fighting for a just and inclusive DC, where housing is a human right and everyone has access to the resources they need not just to survive, but to thrive.

[1] US Census Bureau, Income, Poverty and Health Ins Coverage in US, Sept. 13, 2011.