My husband and I contribute to a diverse group of charitable organizations, such as animal welfare groups and those that care for the homeless. From time to time we also contribute to grocery store food bank campaigns, but not too long ago we began to contribute directly to Foodlink, our local “umbrella” agency that distributes food to a large number of local member agencies.
I did not realize how deeply hunger affects our area until recently. A local news story reporting on the frequency with which college students visit Foodlink to supplement their meal plans opened my eyes wide to the extent of the problem. We pride ourselves on the many colleges and universities in Western New York, yet why is it that students can’t afford to feed themselves? Is tuition so outrageously high that they risk going without food to pursue a degree? And how can they graduate if they’re too hungry to concentrate on their studies?
The same can be said about younger students in our area, regardless of location. Poverty reaches into the suburbs now. Chronic hunger, and its insidious effect on school performance, is no longer limited to traditional inner city neighborhoods. How will our region overcome its economic challenges if our students have no chance to succeed in school and build a future here?
Food bank contributions make an important difference in students’ lives and lay the groundwork for a better future for them and their communities. By supporting their efforts, you’re helping food banks bring fresh produce and other healthy menu choices to kids in “food desert” neighborhoods and keep their warehouses stocked so hungry college students can fill their food gap with something more nutritious than the typical selection found in dormitory snack machines.