Help locally too
When I saw President Bush and Mrs. Chaney helping to serve the needy, I was thrilled. This will be an example for others to follow. One question that has many answers is, "How can we break the cycle of poverty?" We have been supplying food and related items to our agencies in a 16-county area for 16 years, thanks to those who have helped and those who are going to help. Through the Bootheel Food Bank, 7,000 families a month receive a food basket.
As you know, we live in a changing world. Since Sept. 11., a lot of lives will never be the same. But while we are sending help to New York to the victims' families and the firefighters, we must not forget that here at home in Southeast Missouri, we have a lot of people who don't have enough to eat.
Helping the poor is not a popular subject, but it is everyone's responsibility. Our nation has enough food and resources to feed the hungry of the world. It is a shame for our own to go hungry. According to a recent hunger study, our fastest growing group of hungry Americans is the working poor. The working poor are coming to charities for hunger relief.
1. In the past two decades, the poverty rate among working families has increased nearly 50 percent.
2. Nationally, 39 percent of emergency food recipients' households have at least one adult working.
3. Seventy percent of poor families in the United States include a person who works.
4. Nearly half of the recipients of emergency food assistance are children. An additional 10 percent are elderly.
Consider for a moment the effects of hunger on a child's growth, development and learning; also the effects on a senior citizen's health and quality of life. The United States has the most abundant food supply in the world. No one should have to go hungry.
The Bootheel Food Bank must rely on donations and fund-raising for at least half of our income. Please help us break the cycle of poverty and the stress that is caused by it. Thanks, and have a happy holiday.
Dorene Johnson, executive director
Bootheel Food Bank