Getting rid of hunger at home: Awareness day draws attention to those on Kenai Peninsula

Voices of the Peninsula

Posted: Sunday, June 03, 2007

Tuesday, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank joins nationwide anti-hunger organizations celebrating Hunger Awareness Day. America’s Second Harvest — The Nation’s Food Bank Network — will kick off Hunger Awareness Day 2007 with 200 food banks and more than 20,000 food service agencies participating in events across the country.

Also, as legislators in Washington, D.C., begin to consider drafts of a new Farm Bill and the critically important federal nutrition programs it supports, America’s Second Harvest will release the Almanac of Hunger and Poverty in America 2007, a comprehensive guide to national and state facts on hunger and poverty in the United States.

Locally, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor John Williams as well as the mayors of the cities of Kenai and Soldotna, will proclaim June 5 as Hunger Awareness Day.

Designed as a campaign to link celebrities with the food bank in their hometowns, America’s Second Harvest also will launch “Goin’ Home for Hunger,” sending leading actors, musicians and other personalities back to where they were raised.

Here in the central peninsula, elected officials will be serving soup in the food bank’s soup kitchen at 33955 Community College Drive in Soldotna. Approximately 85 individuals, including children and elders, eat lunch each day in the soup kitchen.

Themed “The Face of Hunger Will Surprise You,” this year’s Hunger Awareness Day events aim to draw greater attention to the growing number of struggling low-income Americans who often are forced to choose between paying for utilities, medicine, gasoline or putting food on the table.

America’s Second Harvest members, including the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, are serving growing numbers of families headed by employed mothers and fathers, households whose monthly food stamps allowance is depleted after 2 1/2 weeks, children seeking an after-school meal or snack to substitute for the one they will not get at home, and grandparents who are forced to choose between paying for food or paying for medical care or transportation for the medical care.

In 2007, an average of 16 families each month are first-time recipients of the food bank services.

For the past two years, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank has been processing over a million pounds of food products in the warehouse to 59 peninsula member agencies from Homer to Moose Pass, USDA Commodity clients, Emergency Food clients and soup kitchen diners. Each month an average of more than 530 families seek direct food assistance from the local food bank.

How can you help an anti-hunger organization like the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank? You can Plant a Row for the Hungry, donate food products, organize food drives, volunteer at our facility or at an event such as the Soup Supper and Auction, or make a monetary donation.

For more information, contact the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank at 262-3111 or

Linda Swarner is the executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank.

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