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Hunger statistics something to think about

Posted: July 1, 2012 - 9:26am  |  Updated: July 2, 2012 - 9:31am

Sometimes a statistic can really make you stop and think.

Recently such a statistic came across our desks -- on average 5,294 locals on the Kenai Peninsula receive food stamps each month. Many of those who receive the stamps also require other nutritional services to meet their needs, too.

Those close to the issue know the scope of the problem, but the effects of food insecurity -- that's the new bureaucratic term for hunger -- are not always visible to the rest of us. Ideally that number should be zero -- we'd like to see happy, healthy and thriving Peninsula residents who don't have to worry whether they'll have food on their plates tonight.

This statistic is coupled with recent news that millions of dollars could be cut from a bill that usually provides for such support. For many, food stamp funding is a life necessity and if pulled out from under them would put enormous pressure on the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank and our other local food pantries to attempt to bridge the gap.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program gives aid to some 46 million people, or one in seven Americans. Last year 86,044 Alaskans received food stamps, many of whom were elderly, disabled adults and single parents. These are our neighbors, family and friends.

While one could get lost in politics discussing whether or not cuts to the bill providing food stamp funding are justified, what is clear is that there's a large need. A need to do something to help, and where there is a need there should also be volunteers and donors.

Local food pantries do the best they can, but they often need help with the basics -- preparing food kits and gathering donations.

The Kenai Peninsula Food bank accepts all food donations from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and non-perishable items can be left in donation bins after hours outside of the building. Food may also be dropped off for the Nikiski Food Pantry at the M&M Market or the Nikiski Post Office. Pantry hours are 9 a.m. to noon on Thursdays.

Also if you believe strongly in maintaining funding for food stamps, write your local, state and national legislators and let them know. If you think there's a better way, well then express that too.

Moreover, while it's important to realize just how many people are on food stamps here and that help is needed, it is also important to remember we're in a national depression and, believe it or not, times aren't the best in Alaska either. Luckily our state isn't as bad as some and our area isn't as bad as others that face chronic joblessness.

So take that statistic -- 5,294 -- and interpret it how you'd like. Stop and think how you feel about it. But remember that's the need and the reality. The sooner we can grasp that, the sooner we can start helping meet that need and work toward reducing it to zero, where it should be.

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freedomlibertytruth 07/02/12 - 01:40 pm
very good well written, plea for neighborly private charity.

a nice correction from the last article. I am mostly impressed by this piece as you never once said, "it's for the BABIES." Good for the writer of this article, kudos to you.

freedomlibertytruth 07/02/12 - 02:12 pm
Give! If it does no harm to your own family.

However beautifully written the article is you have made one major mistake. The article starts with 'think' and ends with 'feels'.

One egregious ugly mistake that leads the American people to the slow painful decimation of this once prosperous society. You concluded the piece by saying, “Stop and think how you feel about it.”

Don’t think. Don’t reason. Don’t process facts. Don’t research the history of similar previous actions. Don’t project into the future the legitimate result of your choices.

Feelings, how do you feel? Don’t use your brains; use your tender easily manipulated fleeting sensations. This is the reason that advertisers use Puppies and babies and bimbos to sell to you things that you truly do not want or need, and can’t afford.

The use of strong emotional sympathetic feelings in making major political decisions that affect 310 million people is a blunder. Logic, reasoning, computations, facts and figures…… throw them out the window.

Having said that, If you have taken care of your family and friends, and have a comfortable cushion of assets to protect your future, and if it will cause you no predictable harm in the future. Then give. Like the airline flight attendent tells you, “Put your own air mask on first, then help the others around you.”

akmscott 07/02/12 - 02:09 pm
Then tell DC that we need to

Then tell DC that we need to quit spending taxpayers money on ethanol subsidies and use the corn to feed people and livestock!Why do you think grocery prices are so high?

s2wheel 07/02/12 - 06:24 pm
Free food makes people lazy,

Free food makes people lazy, and they need to drug test these people that are receiving food stamps because many of them sell the stamps for money for drugs

leewaytooo 07/06/12 - 01:53 pm
corporate welfare equals [filtered word] greed

corporate welfare the breakfast of [filtered word].

corporate welfare that romney grabs and stuffs into
his bank accounts offshore.

corporate off shore bank accounts romney has by the dozens.

corporate only want to play team ball when you send your
kids off to war, and their kids go to yale...

what ever became of team america? or was that
just some madison ave hype, designed by [filtered word]
to continually fleece the general public?

[filtered word] the party of lies, liars and hypocrites.....

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