On June 5, Soldotna City Council members Shane Horan and Ed Sleater, along with myself, helped to serve lunch to members of the community at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank.
Tuesday was national Hunger Awareness Day, and we were very pleased to assist with the excellent services provided by Linda Swarner and her staff.
The quality of the lunch was excellent, especially the pizza from the Great Alaska Pizza Co. and the fine soups prepared by the staff. I was especially aware of the large number of residents that came in for lunch, which included many children. Linda Swarner, who was most helpful, informed me that as soon as the school year ends, the number of children coming in for a meal greatly increases.
As a former teacher, I know that we have many students during the school year who receive reduced fare lunches, because of the amount of poverty in our community. I also know that today, as almost every day for the past decade, the Kenai Peninsula unemployment rate is well above the state average.
Watching the many children eat at the food bank, reminded me of an experience I had 15 years ago as a wrestling coach.
I was on a bus taking a squad over to Seward for a tournament for the weekend. As wrestlers often do on the way to a tournament before weigh-ins, there was discussion about what food each person had brought along for the weekend. One wrestler mentioned that he had a plastic container filled with cake or cupcake icing.
When I asked him why that was all he brought for the weekend, he told me that was the only food left on the shelves at his home. The coaches made sure that he had food on all the rest of our trips.
It would be nice if every child had a set of coaches looking out for them during meal times. Thankfully, because of the generosity of our community and the excellent work done at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, more children, along with adults of all ages, have a fuller stomach as they go out and compete in their daily life.
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