Help curb the hunger

Published 3:39 am Wednesday, November 19, 2008

By By MaryClaire Foster
\If you read Sunday’s paper, you probably saw the article about the depleted food supply at Atmore Christian Care Ministry’s food pantry.
I’ll be honest, until I was assigned the story I had no idea what the ACCM was. I had heard the name, but had no idea the function or purpose.
I have, like everyone, had my share of trials and tribulations in life, but never was hunger something I worried about, much less even thought about past.
In fact, at one point I was known to say, “I’m starving” (after having eaten plenty that day) so much that a friend would quickly follow up with the Chris Farley Saturday Night Live impression of the overweight girl yelling, “Lay off me! I’m starving” as she shoved more food in her mouth.
I won’t claim that I’ll never say it again, but after visiting ACCM, I’ll never take it so lightly. It truly was a humbling experience hearing about the imminent need of the food pantry.
I learned it is operates by volunteers who alternate shifts.
I also learned there are stringent guidelines of how much food families get depending on how many people there are.
For example, a family of five is allotted two cans of beans and one jar of peanut butter.
I couldn’t believe that was all, but these guidelines are necessary to keep the pantry stocked.
As I mentioned in the article, a group of home-schooled children recently asked for grocery store patrons to buy something extra while they were shopping and donate it.
I think this is a fabulous idea. It requires minimum effort and is inexpensive, two of the main issues that affect why people do or do not participate in charity events.
I’m not criticizing anyone, I’ve done my fair share of not giving or doing, but now that I’m older and on my own, I guess I feel more of a responsibility to be a positive and active contributor of my community instead of relying on others to do so.
Back to the grocery store idea, I think it is excellent, but there is still one pitfall that might keep people from participating- convenience.
So, I was thinking, what if grocery stores had a box or bin up in front of the store to drop your donation in as you were leaving?
It’d be like one of those “would you like to add a dollar to your total?” program that I’m always such a sucker for, but would have something tangible that really makes you feel like you’re giving.
Even if this doesn’t come to fruition, you could still donate food, whether by picking up a couple of extra things on your next grocery trip or starting a drive at your work, church or favorite hangout.
I know times are tough for everyone, and if you can’t pick up something extra that’s understandable, but regardless this is a season of giving and everyone can give something, whether it be a can of beans, your time, some money or just a smile to a stranger.
MaryClaire Foster is news editor for the Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123 or via email at

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