Hungry people do live on peninsula

Voices of the Peninsula

Posted: Friday, December 01, 2000

Do you believe there are hungry people in your Kenai Peninsula community?

Neighbors learn neighbors need food or are actually hungry.

Just ask any school secretary about children not having breakfast or those who don't have lunch.

Such hunger in our children adversely affects their learning and, over time, our society. Such hunger is not visible to an average observer, but just ask any school secretary.

This type of emergency could occur any time: A man came to the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank for food for his family. Just hired, his first paycheck was two weeks away and his kids were hungry today. If he spent his last few dollars on food there would be no gas to get to his new job.

Frantic after many "no" answers to requests for help he arrived at the food bank, which provided urgently needed food to last until his first payday.

Every now and then a family applies for emergency food -- a family who may be better dressed and drive a more upscale car than anyone at the food bank. Those are the people who do not wish to ask for help until they have exhausted every last resource they believe available to them and now need food for the next meal.

Do you believe the hungry don't exist because it is difficult, if not impossible, to see hunger?

In recent years, the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank has distributed between a half of a million to three-quarters of a million pounds of food and its soup kitchen has provided thousands of daily hot lunches -- which helped a lot of hungry people.

In a survey, one in four peninsula children were found to be undernourished. And, according to recent scientific research, malnutrition can produce "long-term and even permanent" mental impairments in children.

Because of the food bank's "rightness" and "common-sense," local industries, business people and individual community members contributed to the establishment of the present 9,000-square-foot building on K-Beach Road with freezers, a soup kitchen and warehouse. It is a central location where anyone in need can get a hot meal, groceries and a boost to a restart in the right direction toward self-sufficiency.

Do you believe since you don't know a hungry person, nothing you can do, can solve hunger in our community?

You can help, however, by supporting the food bank by:

n Giving a donation of $35 to defray the processing cost of food for eight people for a week;

n Feeding 30 to 45 people by sponsoring a day's soup kitchen operation for $100;

n Becoming a Kenai Peninsula Food Bank partner by authorizing a monthly charge against your credit card.

No one deserves to go hungry. Won't you help the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank?

(The food bank is located at 33955 Community College Road, off K-Beach Road. Its phone number is 262-3111.)

James E. Fisher is the secretary of the board of directors of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank. The food bank currently is conducting its general mail appeal for operating funds.

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