Hunger hits close to home in Louisville area

3

May 26, 2010 by Ashlee Clark Thompson


Hunger

Originally uploaded by schemacoma

I typed the word “hunger” into the Flickr search box to find a picture to accompany this blog entry.

Most of the search results showed foreign children with emaciated limbs and protruding stomachs.

Too bad some folks don’t realize that there are kids — and adults — who go hungry in the neighborhoods of greater Louisville.

Today, religious leaders from an array of faiths gathered in the West End of Louisville to promote the 2010 Hunger Walk, scheduled for Sept. 19 in downtown Louisville to benefit local and global food programs.

According to the story in The Courier-Journal:

They gathered Wednesday morning near the intersection of Dr. W.J. Hodge and Eddy streets, near where 9-year-old Bobby Ellis was found dead from malnutrition in his home in 1969. His death shocked the community and motivated the start of interfaith anti-hunger efforts.

Bobby’s death eventually prompted the creation of Dare to Care Food Bank, the organization sponsoring the Hunger Walk.

But wait — shouldn’t I be writing about some local restaurant or grocery shopping instead of hunger?

I believe in eating local, eating healthy and eating frugally. I also believe that everyone has the right to be food secure and have access to nutritious, local foods. And it’s hard to overlook how many people in Louisville can’t afford a can of beans, let alone a $10 meal at Wick’s Pizza Parlor.

According to Dare to Care Food Bank, more than 175,000 people in Kentuckiana struggle daily to get the food they need to be healthy.

  • 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger
  • 1 in 5 children in our area face hunger every day
  • 1 in 4 children under 5 in Kentucky do not receive the food they need to grow up healthy, the 4th highest state in the nation.
  • 40% of the families we help include a working adult
  • 40% face the choice of paying for food or utilities
  • 40% must choose between paying for food or healthcare

I see these folks each day at the emergency food bank at Neighborhood House. The number of people who need our services has climbed since the recession took hold of our economy. Last week, we had about 20 people come to the food bank in one day. That means 20 families were completely out of food and needed a cardboard box full of cereal, canned vegetables and other non-perishables that will only last for three days.

I’m not saying you need to pack up those collard greens you didn’t eat tonight and send them our food bank. Nor am I saying you should apologize or feel guilty for never having to go without adequate food. Just think about your neighbors who need help. Consider a donation to Dare to Care or your local food bank. Sign up for the Hunger Walk. Volunteer for a program such as Meals on Wheels. Or just realize that it isn’t just children in foreign countries that go hungry. Families just a few miles away might not know if they’ll have dinner tonight.

/steps off soapbox

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3 thoughts on “Hunger hits close to home in Louisville area

  1. Stan says:

    Thanks for picking up on yesterday’s press conference and the urgency of taking action against hunger in our community. The 2010 Hunger Walk is on its way to being the best ever and this success and momentum couldn’t come at a more critical time.
    P.S. – Neighborhood House, with emergency food and Kids Cafe and so much more, is an awesome partner!

    • Ashlee Clark says:

      Thanks! Dare to Care is doing great things in the community, and we see it firsthand at Neighborhood House. Our kids, families and seniors appreciate all that you do.

  2. Laura Melillo says:

    THANK YOU for writing about an issue that is so critical to the well-being of so many in our community! And when you think about the fact that one-in-five children right here in our backyard could go to bed hungry tonight, you realize just how immediate the need is.

    Raising awareness of the issue is the first step in joining the movement to end hunger!

    And you are so right, helping is as easy as strapping on a pair of tennis shoes and walking!

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