People generous to neighbors, hurricane victims in need

Posted: Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hurricane Katrina is a wakeup call to many Americans unaccustomed to being confronted with the poverty existing in our midst.

The reality is there are hundreds of people on the Kenai Peninsula who need our services on a daily basis. According to federal census bureau records, 37 million Americans existed in poverty in 2004. Locally, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank (KPFB) serves 57 agencies throughout the Peninsula from Homer to Moose Pass. Every year the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank serves nearly 2,000 individuals, over half of which are children.

In the weeks following the hurricane, the KPFB, a part of the America's Second Harvest network of food banks and food rescue organizations, has been the recipient of more goodwill than we could have thought imaginable. It is truly inspiring to see the community rally around in support of not only their own local neighbors in need, but also to those who have lost so much on the Gulf Coast.

On behalf of the KPFB Board of Directors and staff, I wish to thank Peninsula residents who graciously donated funds to America's Second Harvest during our hot dog feed on Sept. 9. KPFB Board members Dayne Clark, Jim Fisher, Mike Schwemley and Heather Willets served food products donated by Fred Meyer, General Sales, McDonalds, Regal Foods, Tri Star Distributing and fresh cabbage from the Alaska Christian College. Local media — the Peninsula Clarion, KDLL, KPEN and KSRM including JR who provided live coverage — promoted the event. Lindsey Clark of ConocoPhillips and fellow employees and company contractors partnered with the Food Bank by hosting a fundraising barbeque the same day.

Due to your generosity, the KPFB will be forwarding over $4,100 to America's Second Harvest. All funds collected for Hurricane Katrina will be directly used to support disaster relief activities and assist food banks on the Gulf Coast in providing food. In fact, more than 250 emergency shelters in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and surrounding states have already received boxes. As of noon on Sept. 16, America's Second Harvest had delivered 27.2 million pounds of food and grocery products including water in 827 truckloads to the impacted areas.

In the very near future, the Peninsula's own KPFB's food inventory will be depleted due the necessity of shipping America's Second Harvest inventories to the affected areas. Long-term relief efforts will divert food products normally shipped to Alaska to the Gulf Coast to address the half-million displaced Americans of the Gulf Coast.

The KPFB is grateful for the compassionate generosity of our local Peninsula community — not only in disaster response — but year round in our efforts to address hunger in our community and across the country. If you would like to volunteer locally at the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, please call Catherine DeLacee at 262-3111.

"Hunger is color-blind and so is America's Second Harvest."

Linda Swarner,

Executive director

Kenai Peninsula Food Bank



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