By Brandye Kiker
Special to The SUN
Community service is something that local 4-H kids practice on a regular basis, learning to freely give of themselves and to give back to their community.
According to the Food Bank of the Rockies, “One in seven Coloradans worry where they will find their next meal — nearly half are children.”
With this sad statistic in mind, local 4-H kids have been working hard, collecting food for families in need this holiday season. As leaders for this great group of kids, the importance of teaching our youth why we give is not lost on us. The local 4-H program has been practicing ethics for the past year, striving to be valuable assets to our community. In keeping with our commitment to this, local 4-H youth have chosen to give nonperishable food items to those in our community who need a little help this year.
You may be wondering who exactly goes to a food bank. Well, pretty much anyone you see around our town could be in need. With the winter here and the heating bills going up, there are many people who must choose between heat and food. Nobody should have to make such a choice, and that is why the food banks were created.
Food banks are for the struggling family trying to get through a lost job, for the elderly woman next door, for the single mother trying her best to raise her children, for the man taking his daily walk, for the homeless. They are for all of us, and they depend on all of us to keep them stocked and ready for when there is a need.
What do food banks need most? There are so many items needed, but some thought should go into your donation. For instance, boxed meals that require only water are always needed. In other words, if something requires ground meat to be added, you should probably skip it and opt for something else, as those in need may not have the luxury of having meat on hand to add. Green beans are always plentiful at food banks, so why not opt for canned potatoes, carrots, corn or peas instead? Canned meat, such as chicken, ham and beef is always needed. Ready-to-serve soups and stews with meat included are a great way to get a warm meal into someone. Canned fruits, canned beans, instant oatmeal, pasta and pasta sauce are all great additions to any food pantry. Baking mixes and powdered milk are also good ideas. Thinking beyond food to diapers and toiletries would be extra special to any food bank.
One important note to remember is that food banks operate year-round. They enjoy a period of heavy giving around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but then see less at the new year. Oddly enough, January and February, when food bank giving is down, is the time when food banks see the most need. During these months, temperatures are at their lowest and heating bills are at their highest.
So, let us all remember to take our giving beyond the holidays and into the new year.
In the wise words of the young Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”