No one should have to go hungry
People who know me well, know that I like to eat.
Oh, I don’t mean that I like to constantly eat mass quantities of food. I mean that I really enjoy a good meal.
And, luckily, I am married to someone who enjoys cooking a really good meal. And I know my way around the kitchen and the backyard barbeque grill and smoker pretty well myself, thank you.
I like trying new and interesting foods. I like ethnic foods Mexican, Chinese, German, Danish, Italian. You name it.
In fact, I’m not sure there is a food item I don’t like. There are just some I like more than others.
I also don’t like missing a meal, but I have. I sometimes skip breakfast or lunch, but it is usually on purpose because I get too busy, or because I am going out somewhere nice for supper.
I’ve gotten pretty hungry in my life, at times, and I have used the term ‘starving’ once in a while. Especially back in those poor college student days.
But, I really wasn’t starving.
However, there are many people in this world who are starving, and there are those who are hungry, all of the time.
We automatically think of all the starvation in the poorer countries of the world, in Africa for instance.
But, to be honest, there is poverty and hunger going on in these United States. In fact, it is going on close to home right here in Faribault County.
The State Demographer has released some chilling numbers of just how much poverty there is in rural (now called “out-state”) Minnesota, and Faribault County is near the top of the list.
The other alarming number is that over half of the students in the Blue Earth Area School District come from families whose incomes are low enough that they qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch and breakfast programs.
Which brings us to the Faribault County Food Shelf in Blue Earth. They, and the other food shelves located in the county, serve a real need in our area.
In 2014, the food shelf in Blue Earth had nearly 1,000 client visits. Now that number includes some clients who made multiple visits, and it includes the people served at Thanksgiving and Christmas with the holiday food box project. But some of the 1,000 client visits were for families with two or more children. So, literally, several thousand folks were served.
These clients include people who have lost their job, or are unable to get a job due to medical conditions. They include senior citizens who can’t always get by on small fixed incomes. And of course, they include an awful lot of children.
The food shelf is totally operated by volunteers and an all-volunteer board of directors. They are a very dedicated group of people.
And now, they are taking a big step and moving to a new location and changing the way they operate. In the past their clients had to be referred by clergy or social workers. No more. Now they will serve anyone who has a need, no questions asked.
There are cynics out there who will say that people who don’t have a real need will take advantage of the program. The board of directors, however, feel that nearly every single person who uses the food shelf has a real need to do so.
We congratulate the Faribault County Food Shelf on their move from the lower level of Pemberton Auditorium to a new home in the Ag Center.
But even more, we salute our area food shelf volunteer organizations for the hard work they do to help the people of the county who need a helping hand.
And to all of you who make a donation to the food shelf in one way or another.
In a great country like ours, no one, for any reason, should have to go hungry.
Because I am not the only one who likes to eat. We all do.