FFA students donate 40,000 meals to food banks

A Hermiston student packs a box for local food banks with protein fortified macaroni and cheese in 2017 as part of a service project called Meals of Hope.

It is that time of year when many of us gather with friends and family to celebrate and reflect on all of the things we are grateful for.

But for a portion of our community, the holidays offer up only another set of days on the calendar as they struggle to make ends meet. Other families must face the unpleasant fact they may not be able to adequately clothe their children. Others don’t know how they’re going to eat their next meal.

In this day and age, that simply is unacceptable. These issues won’t be solved by one organization because to adequately care for our downtrodden it takes a full community effort.

Area food banks need all our assistance. Hunger for many and tight times for the working poor isn’t an issue that is just going to go away. Unfortunately, it is a chronic issue in our community — and throughout the nation — and needs to be addressed by organizations and by community members.

One good way to help is easy: Donate food items to your local food bank. It is that easy. And if you don’t think one or two or three food items will make a difference and therefore brush the notion away, don’t. Your contribution, no matter how small, will make a difference. Every effort, no matter how modest it may seem, is a critical donation.

In a perfect world, of course, everyone during the holidays would have enough to eat and enough clothes and a bright future. That isn’t the reality, though, and so by making a donation to a food bank, each one of us can help at a crucial time.

While the plight of the hungry and the working poor secure the limelight during the holiday season, the subject often fades as the holidays recede. That is another challenge the community must address. The hungry don’t just exist during the holidays. The challenge exists 12 months a year. We must not let this important issue fade away only to be resurrected during the holidays.

The hungry, those who are barely subsisting, don’t usually make headlines. Yet they are out there, and they need our help. There is nothing wrong with reaching out occasionally and helping someone who needs a hand up. Our nation was built on the lofty ideals of helping those who need assistance — “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” We are a generous, forgiving country.

So, this holiday season, don’t forget those who need help.

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