EDITORIAL: Feeding the hungry in our own community

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For many local households, warm meals at dinnertime, full refrigerators and well-stocked pantries are normal. But some families and individuals in our community struggle to put food on their tables.

Each month, more than 300 local residents receive food from Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes. Some months, the local nonprofit feeds upwards of 400 adults and children.

“We’ve just had an influx of people using the pantry,” said Cindy Balderas, who serves as treasurer for Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes. She said the pantry saw a busier-than-normal summer.

As the need for food has grown, we hope the community’s support will increase as well.

City of Powell residents can help the pantry without leaving their homes tomorrow night. During the 31st annual food drive, local youth will go door to door from 5:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, collecting non-perishable food for Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes.

During last year’s food drive, a resident unfamiliar with the local tradition posted to a classifieds page on Facebook, concerned that teenagers were knocking on doors and asking for food.

For those new to Powell, it may seem strange: When kids knock on the door during October, they’re usually doing so for tricks or treats.

But we’re thankful for our small-town atmosphere, where dozens of youth are willing to spend an autumn evening collecting food for a good cause instead of candy for themselves. The annual food drive teaches kids the importance of community service and helping those in need.

Powell High School students recently organized a food drive of their own during Homecoming week, collecting over 356 pounds of canned goods for Loaves and Fishes.

Sometimes, youth in Powell are on the receiving end of food donations. In addition to Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes, the local Backpack Blessings program provides food for kids to take home each week. About 105 children — which makes up more than 10 percent of the students in Powell’s elementary schools — receive weekend “care packages.” They’re backpacks filled with snacks and basic food to ensure children don’t go hungry over the weekends, when they don’t get school meals. Local churches make the backpack program possible.

From kindergartners to senior citizens, some Powell residents need assistance with their day-to-day meals. We’re thankful programs like Backpack Blessings and Powell Valley Loaves and Fishes step up to meet those needs in our town, but they can’t operate without our community’s support.

A jar of peanut butter or can of soup can help ensure a fellow Powellite has something to eat.

 

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