Our Opinion: Working to alleviate ‘hunger crisis’

Hunger in Missouri often is an imperceptible, but very real, problem.

An estimated 20 percent of Missouri children deal with a “hunger crisis” on a daily basis, according to the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. The agency characterizes a hunger crisis as not knowing the source of the next meal.

The problem is hardly limited to children. The Food Bank estimates 1 in 6 Missouri adults also face a hunger crisis each day.

These adults are not people who can’t, or won’t, get a job. The Food Bank reports 70 percent of its clients work at least one job or are senior citizens without sufficient income to support themselves.

The regional food bank has emerged as a major supplier for food pantries in Mid-Missouri, including those operated by area not-for-profit organizations, schools and churches.

The food bank traces its origins to humble beginnings; it began in 1981 as a class project of the Social Work Department at the University of Missouri, and a partnership among the Central Missouri Counties Human Development Corporation and area churches.

In 2012, the Food Bank distributed more than 28 million pounds of food to 130 agencies and 134 schools in 32 counties, a vast evolution from the 18,000 pounds of food distributed in its first year.

An operation of this magnitude requires generous donations of both money and time.

The Food Bank attracts both because:

• It is efficient. About 98 percent of donations finance program services, with only 2 percent channeled to administration and fundraising expenses. A $1 donation to the Food Bank will provide 12 meals or 15 pounds of food.

• It is local. Food donations are distributed, 100 percent, in the donor’s area.

• Contributions are tax deductible.

Volunteers also may donate time assembling Buddy Packs for children or serving in other areas. Contact information is available at www.sharefoodbringhope.org.

The people who devote their time, energy and money to alleviate the hunger crisis here at home deserve our thanks.

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