Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hungry Children

Many of these children are on free and reduced meals at school. For them, the only meals they may get during the day are at school.

Hungry among us: Budget crunch hits kids in the belly
The Oklahoman Editorial

Summer is supposed to be fun time for kids. And for most Oklahoma children, it's just that unless the child is among the one in five at risk of going hungry. Then, summer can be painfully long without school-served breakfast and lunch.

It's difficult for most Oklahomans to imagine what it's like to go hungry. Perhaps it even seems implausible that in a generous state like Oklahoma, so many children are going hungry. And that was the case even before $4-a-gallon gasoline and rising food prices made family budget crunches ever more severe.

Oklahoman columnist Bryan Painter reported recently that Oklahomans were indeed generous in a recent food drive to help the state's hungry. The National Association of Letter Carriers drive brought in more than 626,000 pounds of food to benefit the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. The drive also raised about $300,000, with officials estimating the combined donations will provide about 2.5 million meals.

Seems like that should be plenty, right? It won't be. Last fiscal year, the food bank distributed more than 24 million pounds of food to feed 63,675 people each week. Among that number were 20,000 children.

Times are tough for a lot of families, and many are turning to food pantries for help. Food stamps only go so far. Those working low-paying jobs are undoubtedly finding it more difficult to afford food for their families, let alone the kind of nutritious food children need to grow and stay healthy.

Metro-area residents are due a huge pat on the back for the recent food drive donations. But the need is growing, and so must our effort to help

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