Do you know Tuesday, June 6, is National Hunger Day?

There are several organizations on the Peninsula that fight the hunger battle every day. Chinook Food Bank, Ilwaco Food Bank, ReachOut Food Bank, His Supper Table, Ocean Park Lutheran Church and Pace are all right in there doing the best they can to take care of those who are hungry in our communities. FISH and St. Vincent de Paul's are also involved in emergency situations.

I cannot give you the number of households or individuals served by the other organizations but I can tell you about ReachOut Food Bank. During the first six months of operation this year we have distributed 76,966 pounds of food to 3,043 households consisting of 9,053 individuals. (The wonderful people on the Long Beach Peninsula donated 14,896 pounds of the food.)

The amount of food distributed computes out at approximately 8.5 pounds per person. There are some months when we are short of food by the end of the month. Although we try very hard to 'budget' the food, sometimes there simply is not enough.

We might not like to admit it (you know, the old 'Not in my backyard' syndrome) but hunger and lack of food is a big problem in our area. We are always being told about those who misuse the programs or who do not budget their personal funds well. Are we to punish everyone because of the actions of a few? Should we not give food to a family with children because the adults have wasted the available funds? I am sure you all would agree that we cannot hurt anyone because of a few.

The majority of those using the food banks are good people who are experiencing some bad times. Some parents are working two jobs and still having financial problems. More and more seniors are having the responsibility of caring for their grandchildren or have horrific medical expenses. Young adults have problems finding jobs or the wages just don't cover all the expenses.

Many of us remember when we were very young we would be told to clean our plates because "thousand of children in China (or some other far away place) would love to have food." Well, today those children are not as far away as many people would like to believe. Many of those children are right here in our neighborhoods.

We invite you to join us in our battle against hunger. Our organizations and our clients will appreciate your donations of food, funds and even your time.

The battle can be won but all of us need to work together to succeed. Thank you.

Mickey Padgett-Schmale

Volunteer, ReachOut Food Bank

Ocean Park

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