This guest post is written by CUMC member Andrew Bell who is on staff as Communications Manager for the Mid-South Food Bank.
As the body of Christ Church kicks off its church-wide October food donation drive – College Football Food Drive – it’s helpful to have a better understanding of hunger and problems associated with it.
There are a few constants when it pertains to hunger in a community. Most people know there is a hunger problem, and they know there is a food bank. That, more times than not, is the end of their education on the topic.
First of all, hunger, or food insecurity– meaning living in a state of not knowing if you are going to be able to get enough to eat on any given day– is not isolated in any one stereotypical zip code or area of the county.
It’s a misconception.
Wherever you live and work and wherever you travel in the area, you are near families who are struggling to provide enough food. Many of them live on the street; some live in shacks or shelters or retirement high-rises; more than you’d expect live in “traditional” looking homes in the suburbs.
They are unemployed or employed with two jobs; they are disabled; they are sick; they are single parents; they are people standing in line next to you at the store. They are of all colors, backgrounds, ages, demographics – you name it – confronting everyday expenses and constraints.
Many of these folks are referred to as the working poor. In fact, of the more than 220,000 different people who receive food assistance from the 200-plus food pantries through Mid-South Food Bank each year, 28 percent of them do not qualify for food stamps because they earn too much income.
Yet they are desperately struggling to provide the basics.
We all have a stake in food insecurity, by default, whether we realize it or not.
Because there is a large percentage of the population struggling to eat and eat healthy there are overlapping consequences – and everyone pays the price: children can’t focus in the classrooms, which limits the qualified work pool and job expansion; hospitals are overcrowded tending to health problems like diabetes; and residents indirectly carry some of the financial burden of medical expenses.
So your donations make a big difference.
Provisions of peanut butter, canned meats, vegetables and fruits will help a family receive their daily bread, which is packaged in hope.
One more note: As the decorated boxes and bins become filled with food donations at Christ Church for the spirited football contest, be reminded of this fact:
You could fill up the Liberty Bowl Stadium six times and still not quite meet the the number of food insecure people in the Mid-South.
Your help is in big demand.
KICKOFF IS THIS SUNDAY, OCT. 2
(click on the image above for full details)
>>Watch this recent We Believe in Memphis program where Shane & Maxie talk with Mid-South Food Bank President/Executive Director Estella Mayhue-Greer