This Thanksgiving, many of you might participate in a well-known tradition in which friends and family members, full of turkey and stuffing, go around the table and say aloud what they are thankful for.
Answers vary, but visit any table this Thursday and you wouldn’t be surprised at what you hear: my health, my family, food on the table each day, a warm place to sleep at night, love.
I too am deeply thankful that I have these things in my life.
It’s telling that the same themes come up at every table…perhaps because they are the building blocks of a good and happy life.
Sadly, millions of Californians don’t have this foundation.
Nearly 130,000 Californians do not know if they will sleep on the street or in a shelter tonight. Nearly 6 million Californians, including 2 million children, live in low-income households affected by food insecurity, not knowing where their next meal will come from.
You know well that these two factors alone make other life successes challenging, if not impossible. Health, family, love – are these possible without food and shelter?
Maybe, but it’s hard.
That’s why each year, when asked about what I’m thankful for, I also think of all of you – of hospitals.
For the Californians who will not be sitting at a table Thursday; for those who will sleep outdoors as temperatures dip into the low 40s; for those who struggle to answer what they are thankful for, I’m grateful they have you.
Every day, California’s hospitals demonstrate what it means to show empathy, kindness, and compassion to those in need: a social worker making a few extra calls to find an open bed for a patient experiencing homelessness; a street nurse program; an extra sandwich for someone who hasn’t eaten in a few days.
So, this year, when we go around the table at my house, and here in this message, I say thanks to you, the women and men who serve others at California’s hospitals – because often, you’re the only ones that those in need have.
From your California Hospital Association family, please know that you have our deepest gratitude for everything you do to give others something to be thankful for.