On Monday, postal carriers left blue plastic, non-recyclable bags in our mailboxes to announce the annual National Association of Letter Carriers food drive.
The association, along with United Way of El Paso County and other partners, will conduct the 27th Annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive, the nation’s largest single-day food drive, Saturday.
More than one in four children and one in eight adults in El Paso face hunger; that’s more than 222,000 of our neighbors living in food insecure households. Over the past forty years, hunger statistics have increased in the U.S., placing more families in need of food assistance in the Border Southwest. In 2018, El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank distributed 15.5 million pounds of food to families through 130 partner agencies in El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson counties.
Food insecurity in American families continues to grow in spite of an improving economy. One in eight Americans — mostly children and the elderly — face hunger every day.
In El Paso County, our children are food insecure; more than 135,000 kids go to bed hungry every night. Growing numbers of adults live in poverty and face the problem of hunger. In El Paso, over 86,000 do not know how they will get their next meal.
The World Hunger Education Service, which studies poverty across the globe, reports that a growing number of U.S. households participate in federal programs supplementing incomes. With recent cuts to federal safety-net benefits by the current administration, food insecurity is growing throughout the nation, and particularly in the border Southwest. Hunger and poverty rates increase as families choose between buying food and paying for housing and utilities. El Pasoans Fighting Hunger and other local food banks have witnessed an increased need for food assistance from middle-income families over the past several years.
It’s time to address hunger in our community; we can all help. We can stamp out hunger in our community. Fill that blue plastic bag with nonperishable goods, leave it near your mailbox on Saturday for pickup by your postal carrier, or take your donation to your local post office.
The need for hunger awareness is an ongoing effort. There are many ways to stamp out hunger in El Paso. Contact El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank at 298-0353 to join the effort or sign up online at elpasoansfightinghunger.org.
Volunteers and community partners are critical to the mission of El Pasoans Fighting Hunger. Some people serve by sorting donated food items, filling orders to serve people in need, assisting with general administrative tasks or staffing special food-raising events. There is even a mobile delivery program to distribute food donations to one of 120 mobile sites.
Join the volunteer efforts of El Pasoans Fighting Hunger; there are a myriad of ways to do that. You can sponsor a food-raiser for friends and families — a barbecue with all of your guests bringing a bag of canned goods or a bowling tournament with participants donating bags of dried beans and rice. Employers can hold a workplace “Jeans Day” in which each employee donates $5 to $10 for the chance to dress down at work or take up an “Empty Your Pockets” collection in which everyone donates their spare change.
Sign up for the virtual food bank at elpasoansfightinghunger.org. One dollar provides four meals for hungry families; imagine the impact if each one of us donated $20 to the cause!
El Paso Times Article by Ouisa Davis, Attorney at Law