Archive for Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Letter to the editor: Summer may bring hunger

June 8, 2005

Summer may bring hunger

To the editor:

While many of our children are excited about the end of the school year and experience the joy of summer vacation, some of the needy clients at social service agencies are children. For many of the "working poor" -- and according to data provided by Harvesters-The Community Food Network, for a startling number of America's "middle class" -- this need is met when their children are fed at school. However, this safety net is removed during the summer months, leaving far too many of society's most vulnerable hungry.

A startling fact depicted in the most recent Harvesters newsletter states "Harvesters served 1,146,000 in 2003 and 2.15 million in 2004. Service to families rose 10 percent in 2004 to 537,000 from 486,000 in 2003." Harvesters is the umbrella organization supplying many of the metropolitan area's social service organization food pantries.

I can speak to my daily encounters while working in the urban core neighborhoods of Kansas City, Kan.: The demand far exceeds the supply. I regularly meet people who inquire about food assistance. It is disconcerting to me to look into the eyes of a child or a senior citizen and see the hollow stare of hunger.

Leaders in the metropolitan Kansas City area faith community convened June 7, National Hunger Awareness Day, and dialogued about the church's role in feeding the need. With such a large portion of federal dollars earmarked for homeland security and the military, states are in a quandary about ways to feed, educate and keep Americans healthy.

The troubling fact is that America, the "land of opportunity" so many are suffering. If the current trend continues, society will become increasingly unstable.

During June, the Tonganoxie Public Library is offering a fine amnesty period. Patrons are asked to bring non-perishable food donations to the library to help supply the Good Shepherd Thrift Store as well as the Alliance Against Family Violence. I would ask that the people in Tonganoxie respond to the call, even if fines are not owed. I am certain the local need, while a microcosm, is reflective of the societal need.

April Dohle,


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