By CURT MCCORMCIK

In August and September of this year the Keizer Community Food Bank (KCFB) provided food boxes for 270 families which served over 2,000 individuals. According to Marion-Polk Food Share data, an average of 400 new families are seeking the aid of a food bank in Keizer or Salem for the first time. Add rural areas and the number is closer to 800 families. County-wide, that’s over 6,000 families a month receiving emergency food service. Marion-Polk Food Share estimates that one out of every five area families ate from an emergency food box at least once in the last 12 months.

What this means is that the KCFB shelves are bare.  On Monday, Oct. 25,  the KCFB had to make an emergency purchase of food at a cost of $1,100 (discounted via Roth’s) just to service the Monday night clients. Donations are down. Marion-Polk Food Share is also experiencing a decline in food donation.

On the one hand the solution is quite simple, the food bank needs more food. It is hard for me to fathom that in this day and age, in the richest and most powerful country in the world that we have kids going to bed hungry. It’s hard for me to fathom that kids in this state are going to bed hungry. It’s even harder for me to fathom that kids in this community are going to bed hungry.

We need you—the community, religious, business, professional, educational or social group you may represent—to lend a hand. If you don’t have a food barrel in your location, call us and we’ll bring you one and even come and pick up the food. When you go to the store, buy and extra can or box of food and drop them off at any of the six church partner locations, or local businesses that already have a food bank collection barrel, including Uptown Music and Tony’s Kingdom of Comics.

The six church partners of the Keizer Community Food Bank are John Knox Presbyterian, Faith Lutheran, Keizer Christian. St. Edward Catholic Church, Clearlake United Methodist, and Calvary Baptist Church.  The food bank is always seeking the ten most wanted items: soup, chili, macaroni and cheese, cereal, peanut butter, tuna, fruit, vegetables, pasta and pasta sauce.

Also, don’t be afraid to donate cash. Money donations allow the food bank to make emergency purchases like we had to do earlier this week and maintain core foods on the selves. Donation checks can be sent to John Knox Presbyterian Church (PO Box 20968, Keizer, 97307) or any of the other church partners with an notation “For Food Bank.”

Together we can nourish tummies and a put smile on the kitchen table.

Curt McCormick lives in Keizer.