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As Long as We Remember...

October 11, 2004

Making A Difference

Bethany Stevenson

As our thoughts begin to turn to autumn, pumpkins, feast days, gorging on candy, turkey and that notorious pecan pie that Grandma makes, we also have the opportunity to turn our thoughts to the many children in our community who suffer from malnutrition.

Unbelievably, an estimated 33 million people in the United States do not know from where their next meal will come.

That may seem very unrealistic to some of us who only have to open the pantry to see that there are far more snacks there than their waistline should have access.

But the truth is that the cost of living, of paying rent, medical expenses and basic necessities, sucks up the entire income of many people. The overwhelming task of trying to budget for nutritional food is last on the to-do list.

So many face extenuating circumstances, as well, that prevents them from enjoying proper food. Whether it is from debt, medical issues, lack of education or simply poor choices, financial problems can loom like a black cloud that does not have an end. That cloud blurs the vision that could see past the present into the future. Focus is turned on today to how to get and keep shelter, and keep what job they may have.

The fact is that one in five children today in America suffers from hunger. Studies have shown, too, that children who suffer from malnutrition or hunger during their critical growth stages will suffer irreparable harm, not only physically but mentally as well.

In a world where technology forces us to be mentally awake and learning at all times to keep up, it is so very important then that children during these growth periods receive proper nutrition.

Many children in this situation receive free school lunches. For most of these children, this is the only nutritious meal they receive each day.

Nevertheless, we have the opportunity to assist these children. In Frederick County, we have several food banks that distribute food to the needy and hungry. We can help by stocking their shelves.

On Saturday, November 6, the Boy Scouts in our area will be distributing bags to households throughout the area for the Scouting for Food campaign. Residents are asked, then, to fill them with non-perishable food stuffs.

The following Saturday they will collect those bags that have been filled by the kindhearted citizens. The scouts will then sort the food and distribute it to the local Frederick County Food Banks.

If you receive a bag on your doorstep, do what you can to help the malnourished children in our area. If you can fill the bag with non-perishable items, you may feed a child for two or three days. If you add your own second bag, that same child can be assured a nutritional meal every day for a week. What an impact that can have in the growth and development of a possible future leader in Frederick!

In addition, if every family in Frederick was to contribute a bag or two, we could positively impact the lives of all our malnourished children, we could give them the chance for a better life.

So, please remember to mark November 6 and 13 on your calendar. The scouts will be visiting your neighborhood. And if by chance you are missed, take a bag of food to the nearest shelter.

It behooves all who have more than enough to give of our plenty to those who have so very little. Charity is the love that exists in our hearts for those around us, and even those whom we do not know. When we have this charity, we build bonds of love within our community to make it strong.

Make our community strong by reaching out in love and compassion to others. You could be the one to make a difference in the life of a child.

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