We collect canned goods at Thanksgiving. We organize gift and food drives at Christmas. We make sure to donate, donate, donate in the weeks preceding Easter (–Lent.)
And then summer comes.
There’s something about the lazy, carefree days of summer that puts food pantry donations on the back burner. Maybe it’s because we aren’t typically planning our own feast days. Maybe it’s because we eat lighter, more sporadic meals on these hot, sticky days. Maybe it’s because the organized activities of school and faith education are often on hiatus.
People are still hungry. We all still need to eat. There is no reprieve from the need for nourishment.
In fact, many children receive free or reduced breakfasts and lunches throughout the school year. This means that, five days a week, they’re guaranteed at least two complete meals. That makes a huge difference for some families.
In the summer, these families are often on their own. There are more mouths around, all the time, to feed, and the burden can be great. Food pantries can help ease these struggles, but they often suffer this time of year from decreased donations– buying extra canned and boxed goods just isn’t at the forefront of people’s minds in the high heat of July.
So, today, I just wanted to remind everyone:
Hunger doesn’t take a vacation. If anything, it rears its head even more during these school-free months. I truly believe we need to step up and shoulder some of the responsibility to meet those needs, if at all possible.
To help your community feed its hungry, there are just a few simple, painless steps you can take:
- Find out who’s collecting.
- Find out what’s needed.
- Add a few items to your own grocery list.
- Find out where to drop/leave it.
For me, this means verifying that the Martha and Mary Food Bank is currently accepting donations. (Not surprisingly, they are.) Conveniently enough, the list of what’s needed is right in our church bulletin (see above.) I choose to involve my children by allowing each of them to choose an item or two to add to our list. Finally, we drop our donations off right in the back of our church, where they’re gathered and transported over to the food bank.
On a week-by-week grocery budget basis, this barely affects my bottom-line. We are in no way wealthy people, but it’s not a significant burden to add some cans of veggies, crackers, rice, etc. to our purchases.
We can make a difference, my friends. Sometimes, I truly think it’s just a matter of remembering. Many of us are happy to help; we just forget or aren’t sure where to start. Start today by adding a couple things to your grocery list.
Let’s work together to help reduce summertime hunger.