A critical time to feed the need

As the economy creeps closer to a recession, the ill-effects of costs outweighing income are being felt everywhere.

As the economy creeps closer to a recession, the ill-effects of costs outweighing income are being felt everywhere.

The pain at the gas pump is undoubtedly putting a dent in everyone’s pockets. For many in our community, just putting food on the table is becoming increasingly difficult. Statistics from the Central Kitsap Food Bank are undeniable proof that many local residents are to the point where they can no longer afford to feed their families.

More than 1,200 individuals from 376 Central Kitsap households were served in February, representing an increase of 54 percent over the number of those served in February 2007, according to Hoyt Burrows, executive director of the CK Food Bank. The volume of foodstuffs provided totaled more than 31,000 pounds, compared to just more than 23,000 last year in February.

This basic human need has become a daily struggle for many who have been forced to hold a hand out for help. The majority of people are already on a tight budget, but it doesn’t take much to donate a few cans of soup or a couple boxes of macaroni and cheese.

One way to help out without even having to leave your home is today’s National Association of Letter Carrier’s Food Drive. All you have to do is fill a grocery bag with non-perishable food and place it next to your mailbox before your mail arrives. Letter carriers all across the county will be donating the goods to local food banks. There is undoubtedly a variety of non-perishable food items in your cupboards that you would never give a second thought to if you gave it away to a less-fortunate family.

It’s easy to take food for granted when it’s never a worry, but for those who lie awake at night wondering how they’re going to feed their family, a box of rice or a can of fruit can mean the difference between their kids having something to eat or going to bed with an empty stomach.

Even if you miss today’s Letter Carrier’s Food Drive, the food bank is always in need of donations. You don’t even have to drive too far — the organization is located in the heart of CK on Anderson Hill Road, next to Central Kitsap High School.

If your budget is just as tight as those who benefit from the food bank, the non-profit is always in need of volunteers. In February, its staffing was comprised of 49 volunteers and three staff personnel. Volunteer hours in February totaled 726, an increase of 20 percent compared to last February, according to Burrows. Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Take just a few minutes to go through your cabinets and help feed the hungry right here in your neighborhood.