Hunger is a persistent problem across the United States and especially here in Del Norte County. Hunger is not always visible and you may never know that a person you encounter during the day has trouble getting sufficient calories for their health and well-being.
If you have never thought about hunger in our county, consider this: the California Center for Rural Policy (CCRP) conducted a health survey for the North Coast in 2006. One question asked was, "In the past twelve months were you or people living in your household ever hungry because you couldn't afford enough food?" One in ten respondents answered, "Yes." This was before the current economic downturn.
So what can we do as a community to help alleviate hunger? What can we do as individuals? There are many things. One is to acknowledge that hunger exists in our community, but there are many others.
Tomorrow, May 14th, for instance, you could put a bag of non-perishable foods near your mail box. It's the 19th Annual Help Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, put on by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Your carrier will pick up food left at your mailbox and take it back to the post office. The food collected locally stays right here in our community -- CAN and Rural Human Services both receive the donations for their food banks. This is late notice, I know, but every little bit helps!
If you've ever wondered what food banks need most, think about non-perishables that are very nutrient-dense. Peanut butter, canned or dried beans, vegetable-rich soups, canned tuna or salmon, canned fruit (in its own juice), 100% juice, and shelf-stable milk are always welcome in a food box.
If you're a gardener, you can help, too! Plant a Row for the Hungry is a project of the Garden Writers Association. When you plan your garden, plant one extra row of veggies to give to your local food bank. CAN distributes food boxes every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and we always need more fresh produce! If you would like to give back to the community by growing food for your neighbors who need a little extra help, please call Angela or Connor at 464-9190.
Many of our neighbors worry about where their next meal will come from. If we work together, we can help erase those worries.