Stamp Out Hunger 2011: Spare a can for your fellow man.Posted by Donna Freedman on May 11, 2011 | 13 comments
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 50 million people in this country are “food insecure,” i.e., they do not have regular access to adequate nutrition. More than 17 million of them are children.
You can help, at least a little.
The National Association of Letter Carriers Annual Food Drive is this Saturday, May 14. Pasta, boxed goods, and canned vegetables, fruit, juice, soup, stew, fish or meat may be put in bags and left where your mail is delivered.
Last year the country’s 230,000 letter carriers collected 77.1 million pounds of grub for regional food banks and other organizations. Is there something in your pantry you can give, or could you add an item or two to your shopping list?
Maybe you’re on a no-room-to-spare budget yourself. But if you can shake loose even a quarter for a package of ramen, I promise you that it will be welcomed by somebody, somewhere.
My own donation bag contains several cans of tuna, two boxes of cold cereal, a couple of cans of beans, a box of Wheat Thins, two boxes of instant potatoes, a jar of peanut butter, a box of mac ’n’ cheese, a few cans of soup, a pound and a half of pasta, a big bottle of catsup, a bottle of barbecue sauce, and two cans of fruit. No ramen, though; I’m fresh out.
Some of those items were free or nearly free thanks to coupons (not extreme ones, though). I’ll probably get to the store between now and Saturday, in which case I’ll pick up a few more things. For now, I remain grateful that:
- There is still food left in my cupboards
- I can afford to replace what I took out
Five years ago I was using a food bank myself. Now I donate money, toiletries and school supplies to that organization. I’m grateful for that, too.
Helping, if you can
According to Feeding America, 46 percent of U.S. households have to make the “heat or eat” choice.
Still think you can’t afford a quarter?
Or maybe you really can’t. If that’s the case, go to the Feeding America website and search for food pantries in your area. I’d also like to suggest a column I did for Get Rich Slowly, “Unemployed? Underemployed? Here’s how to get help.” It outlines some ways to stretch available dollars to meet basic needs.
I hope that most of us will make some donation to Stamp Out Hunger, to Feeding America or to a local food bank. Here in Seattle (and elsewhere in the country, I bet) the emergency pantries are being hit pretty hard: fewer donations, but more clients than ever.
That 25-cent package of noodles won’t begin to address bigger issues such as unemployment or underemployment, or provide The Answer to whatever has put that person in the food-bank queue.
But for one day, at least, it will mean going to bed with something in his belly besides hunger.