Cupboards are bare

During the holidays organizations in the area kick into high gear with their food basket delivery programs to households in need. That includes the Keizer Chamber of Commerce’s Keizer Network of Women (KNOW), the Keizer Elks Club and Marion County Fire District #1. 

The names of households receiving KNOW’s program are provided by the Salem-Keizer School District. That is wonderful for those houses that will receive baskets of food and gifts for children in those homes.

What about other food-insecure households that are not identified by the school district? Many of these households rely on a food bank—including Keizer Community Food Bank—to augment what they are able to afford. 

The operators of the Keizer Community Food Bank are desperate to fill their food shelves and look to the public for help. Marion Polk Food Share does provide food but it is not enough to keep the bank’s pantry full to serve the hundreds of people who need their help.

While planning and preparing for holiday parties and feasts we should remember those who can not enjoy the holidays while their stomachs are unfulfilled. While grocery shopping, the public can purchase the items most needed by food banks: canned goods like vegetables, canned chicken, tuna, salmon, fruit, soup, pasta, rice, beans, oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat, crackers, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and powdered milk.

Food insecurity affects too many area households and it changes how people live their daily lives. No one should be hungry any time of the year. A child’s empty stomach is detrimental to their education. 

While donations of food are gladly accepted by food banks, money does the most good. One dollar can feed two families of four. That is astonishing. Those who want to help more can sign up to be a monthly sustainer with deductions from checking or card accounts.

Hunger comes into clear focus during the holidays because of the multiple food basket deliveries, but we all know that hunger is not seasonal. Those who are food insecure are food insecure as much in the spring, summer and fall as they are during the holidays.

It is said that giving is better than receiving. Let us make that so this holiday season for those who need a hand and continue that philosophy into the new year.