Every year our 21 member food banks go into overdrive around the holiday, organizing huge turkey drives, massive "feasts of sharing" and other events to give every Texan a place at our collective table.

These events are important, both to nourish our neighbors in need and engage the community in our work. But as food banks have evolved and deepened their understanding of the challenges facing the people we serve, we have come to an inescapable conclusion -- solving hunger will take more than turkeys and private charity.

Imagine how it might feel to go hungry on Thanksgiving, or worry about not being able to provide a meal for your family. Your hunger would be a harsh reminder that you don’t have an equal place "at the table" in your community. This would make you feel disempowered and disconnected, as if you were stuck behind a pane of glass looking in on someone else’s holiday feast.

Breaking that glass requires a greater emphasis on solutions that not only feed when pantries are bare, but also strengthen lives and empower Texans to move forward. This means strengthening public investment in programs like SNAP (aka food stamps) that help stabilize struggling families so they can get back on their feet. It also means strengthening our economy so it can provide access to jobs and wages that eliminate the trade-off between food and other necessities.

On Thanksgiving in 2012, following the harshest recession in decades, the number of Texans receiving SNAP was at an all-time high. Today, 275,000 fewer Texans require SNAP's help. The difference is that stable jobs are now on the upswing, and the tightening labor market is slowly increasing wages to the point where fewer families need help.

We applaud the many Texas businesses that are helping reduce hunger not just by donating to our food banks, but by recognizing the long-term value of well-paid employees. We also applaud activists like the "Our Walmart" campaign, who are drawing attention to the impact of inadequate wages on hunger while urging employers to do more.

This Thanksgiving our food banks will work around the clock to make sure everyone has turkey on their plates. At the same time we will urge everyone who cares about hunger to help us break down that pane of glass so we all have an equal place at the table. This relies on individual acts of charity, a strong public commitment to programs like SNAP, an economy that produces good jobs, and a business community willing to do its share.