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VOL. 126 | NO. 221 | Friday, November 11, 2011

Pearl and Mel Shaw

You Can Help Heal City’s Hunger Pains

By Mel and Pearl Shaw

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It’s great to know where our next meal is coming from. Food brings people together. Especially during the last two months of the year! But what about the 14.5 percent of households who are hungry without dependable, consistent access to food? Where will their next meal come from and how can we help put food on their tables?

We are our brother’s keeper, and many of us, if we look closely, realize we have family members, neighbors or people we come in contact with each day who are hungry. With this column we ask you to give to the Mid-South Food Bank, a faith based organization you are associated with, or the family down the street.

Hunger is often described with the phrase “food insecurity.” That means you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. You don’t have the money or the resources to ensure you and your family have a dependable and consistent source of food.

Locally 83 percent of clients served by the Mid-South Food Bank report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel. Thirty-two percent had to choose between paying for food and paying their rent or mortgage and 26 percent had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care. Think about it. What if that was you? And if it is you, how good it is to know your neighbors care.

With all the gridlock in Washington this is not the time to wait for the government to solve this problem. It’s up to us to care. And it’s easy. Look at what you are going to spend to celebrate the upcoming holidays. Make a budget. And then figure out how much of that budget you can use to help ensure families in your community have something to eat. It’s not that hard. You can donate 85 percent of your company’s holiday party budget and use the other 15 percent for a smaller scale breakfast. You can donate 50 percent – or 100 percent – of what you would give as client gifts to the Mid-South Food Bank. You can look at your family holiday budget and donate a percentage. Engage your children in giving. As a family you can purchase a gift card to a local grocery store and slip the card under your neighbor’s door. You can send your sister-in-law a check or an anonymous gift card.

Remember, hunger doesn’t announce itself. Our pride often keeps us from sharing our troubles. We believe they will end soon, we fear what others will think, we don’t want to ask for a “handout.” Think about it – if your sister-in-law or your neighbor has been unemployed for 18 months, most likely she is having trouble paying her bills and feeding her children. The older couple you see at church each week may not be eating three meals a day. Too many children are coming to school hungry and have difficulty concentrating. You can make a difference.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the owners of Saad & Shaw. They help nonprofit organizations and institutions rethink revenue sources. They are the authors of “How to Solicit a Gift: Turning Prospects into Donors.” Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com or call 522-8727.

PROPERTY SALES 97 418 8,253
MORTGAGES 112 508 9,293
BUILDING PERMITS 194 1,059 18,126
BANKRUPTCIES 46 208 5,367