We are one week away from Halloween, a few weeks out from Thanksgiving, then the Christmas/New Year's extravaganza. The fun just never stops this time of year.
For most of us. For others, the holiday season can be a living nightmare — and one that continues throughout the year.
We’re referring to folks who don’t have enough to eat, and cannot afford the kind of spread the majority of us put on the table for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here are some relevant facts about hunger in America:
Lots of Americans measure their health and well-being in terms of financial resources. How much money we have determines how well we live. That’s a big plus about our form of capitalism.
But for a few, their well-being-meter relies on how much — or how little — food they can get. It used to be called hunger, but these days it’s food insecurity.
According to recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 40-50 million Americans are food-insecure. That may seem astonishing to those of us lucky enough to live in this paradise, with so much food being grown all around us.
But those of us who have been following the work of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, and regular readers of our editorials, are aware that one in four Santa Barbara County residents use the Foodbank’s services, and more than a third of those receiving food are children.
The Foodbank has just launched its seasonal food drive, primarily focused on providing turkeys and attendant goodies to those in need. This year the organization’s goal is 3,000 donated turkeys and chickens. Not live ones, the kind you buy at the supermarket.
It’s an easy, satisfying step to take. Just go to the store, select a frozen bird or two, and drop it off at the Foodbank warehouse at 490 W. Foster Road in Santa Maria, between 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday from next Monday through Dec. 13.
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If you’re too busy to drop off fresh or frozen turkeys, donors can sponsor holiday meals online by visiting https://donate.foodbanksbc.org/mealsponsor.
Donated turkeys and chickens will be distributed to needy members of the community through Foodbank’s more than 300 partner organizations countywide.
In addition to the holiday birds, the Foodbank also works with local suppliers to obtain fresh veggies. In fact, of the 10 million or so pounds of food distributed each year, about half is fresh produce from North County.
The folks at Foodbank have shown themselves to be real pros when it comes to stretching a dollar. In fact, thanks to bulk buying, your $1 donation can be turned into eight nutritious meals.
We support the Foodbank, and have been supporting the organization for years, because it fills a void in our community that seems to be growing by the day. In this wonderful land of plenty, there should be no one left to starve, or even worry if there is enough money available after paying the monthly bills to provide healthy food for a family.
That is double true at this time of year, as we close in on the holiday season, which is supposed to be a time of joy and happiness. It’s difficult to be joyful or happy when your stomach is growling with hunger.
Give it some thought. You’ve got plenty of time to put something a little extra in your shopping cart on your next visit to the supermarket.
And tens of thousands of county residents will thank you.