Connell: Help stop hunger with ‘just one more’Published 3:57pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012
To the Editor:
In the two years I have been living back in Niles after 20 years away, I have found a renewed sense of hope in seeing how our community comes together to help when there are people in need.
So it came as no surprise when around this time last year, during a time of crisis at our local food banks people rose to the challenge and filled empty shelves. What did shock me was learning that one in six children in Berrien and Cass counties go to bed hungry every night. Our small community has the same child hunger rate as the entire United States put together.
Food is survival and I had a personal lesson in this when I was a tutor for a local school. I had a 5 year old stealing granola bars I gave out as snacks and I later found out she had no food at home. Of course, she was stealing. She was starving. It was heartbreaking and my heart broke all over again when I realized she is just one of many in the same situation.
Food prices are going up for a variety of reasons. Senior citizens on fixed incomes, families with kids, individuals in a tough spot are all having difficulty stretching dollars and food stamps to have enough to eat each month. Sometimes a week-worth of groceries can mean the difference between eating and not eating. Many people in need are flying under the radar and you may be surprised who they are. It may not be you but it may be the person next to you. Today’s donors are often tomorrow’s beneficiaries. Life is uncertain, especially in this economy.
Right now, all of our local food pantries are close to having completely empty shelves again. Therefore, I would like to announce the “Just One More” hunger awareness campaign. By purchasing “Just One More” each time we go to the grocery store and donating it to a food drive, food barrel at the store or food pantry we can make a huge difference. The local food pantries all work together to make sure people in need get food. But they can only do that with our help.
If our community rises to that challenge, and I know we can, we can consistently keep the shelves of our local food pantries stocked. Please “like” the “Just One More” Facebook page to stay current on the Just One More project. www.facebook.com/JustOneMoreNiles
It is my sincere belief that as awareness to this problem grows, this amazing community will embrace the “Just One More” campaign and help fill those shelves so that no child goes to bed hungry and every child gets the nutrition they need to excel in life.
Kelly J Connell