Hunger is real and too many people are go hungry every night. Contrary to popular opinion, even so-called "well to do" towns have people who are struggling to feed their families. And our current economic crisis only makes this situation worse.
The local NBC affiliate did a story on Thursday night called "The Food Stamp Challenge" and I think it's important and worth repeating here.
A number of members of Congress have participated in this challenge, although NOT my own Representative Mark Kirk (R-10th IL) (just 1 of the many reasons I did not vote for him). More need to participate and we need to encourage our elected officials to take part.
I've written about the plight of those receiving food stamps, the Food Stamp Challenge and the importance of donating to food pantries previously. But as we head into the holiday season with Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas right around the corner, I encourage you to call your food pantry and see what their greatest need is.
Many food pantries are looking for people to sponsor a Thanksgiving dinner for a local family. The Wheeling Township Food Pantry, where I live, does this. You can provide traditional Thanksgiving foods (canned yams, boxed mashed potatoes, canned corn, canned cranberry jelly or a gift card to the grocery store for a turkey) and a local family that couldn't afford this luxury for their family will have a special day.
Whenever I go to the grocery store, I pick up an item or two extra that I can give to my food pantry. I always buy on sale, so it doesn't become a burden on my budget. Then when I have a full grocery sack, I drop it off at the food pantry. Almost as important as the need for food, personal care items such as toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and diapers cannot be purchased with food stamps and I encourage you to pick up some extra when it's on sale for your food pantry. Of course, donations to food pantries are tax deductible, so keep a list of what you donate and get a receipt when you make a donation.
canned tuna fish
vegetable oil and olive oil
sugar (small size)
canned fruit - all varieties
canned meat products such as chicken, hash, ham
coffee (small) and tea
dry milk/canned milk
dried beans and dried peas
dry soups including Ramen
canned or packaged gravy
jams, jelly and honey
macaroni and cheese
pancake mix and syrup
potato products and yams
rice (1 lb bags)
Personal Hygiene Items
toilet paper (2 or 4 roll pkgs)
laundry and dish washing detergent
diapers - sizes 4, 5, and 6
shampoo and conditioner
feminine hygiene products