The Garden City Telegram
10/28/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Food push

Generous community members help the hungry.

It's a busy time for a Finney County United Way in the midst of its annual fundraising campaign.

Yet the organization that works with 25 partner agencies — all of which meet critical local needs — recently made time for another important cause in a food drive for the poor in our community.

According to recent U.S. Census figures, more than 15 percent of Finney County residents live below the poverty line, which is higher than the percentage overall in Kansas and the nation.

More proof of a significant number of families having trouble making ends meet also is evident in the high number of local schoolchildren eligible for free and reduced lunch — some 71 percent, well above the percentage for the state.

Kansas Food Bank supplies help on the local front, but are wearing thin in a community seeing an increase in struggling families. Knowing so many residents could use help with meals, local groups recently coordinated a food drive with the assistance of the United Way.

The first-time program, "Trick-or-Treat So Others Can Eat," promised to help stock food shelves for the Salvation Army, United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries, Family Crisis Services and St. Catherine Hospital's Benincasa House.

Credit Finney County Young Professionals, Garden City High School Freshman Ambassadors and Student Council, GCHS Future Career and Community Leaders of America, Garden City USD 457 and the Garden City Community College Student Organization for working with the United Way on the effort.

It's always encouraging when younger members of the community take time to engage in such endeavors.

But regardless of the age of those who signed on to help spread the word and bring in food donations, the result was a heartwarming outpouring of assistance for others in our midst.

In a community with so much to offer, no one should ever go hungry.

Many local residents acknowledged as much, and the community as a whole made progress in addressing a serious issue. In doing so, all involved also set a sterling example for others on how to help friends and neighbors in need.