If feeding children is important to you, Women Ending Hunger has a 30-minute volunteer opportunity on Sept. 5 that will focus attention on local childhood hunger.
Three-thousand nine-hundred volunteers are needed for the third annual Food for Thought empty plate line will take place from 5:15 to 5:45 p.m. in downtown Salem. Why 3,900?
“There are more than 39,000 children in Marion and Polk counties who rely on free or reduced price lunch at school. Each person standing in our line will represent 100 of those children,” said Kat Daniel, program manager for Women Ending Hunger, an auxiliary of Marion-Polk Food Share, the regional food bank.
During the last school year (2011-12), more than 36,218 school-age children in Marion County (60.2% of those enrolled) and more than 3,435 children in Polk County (52.8% of those enrolled) were income-qualified for the free or reduced price lunch program. For some this meal was their only source of food and nutrition.
Children who live in food insecure households are at risk in many ways. Under-nutrition, even mild to moderate malnutrition, is a developmental risk factor. Children who lack a nutritious diet often do not perform well academically and have higher rates of school absence. Childhood hunger can produce impairments that remain throughout life.
“For the past two First Wednesdays in September, up to 500 people have felt it important enough to make time to take a stand against childhood hunger with our line of empty plates from the State Capitol to the Marion Street Bridge,” Daniel said. “This year, we’d like to grow that number exponentially to raise public awareness about this quiet catastrophe.”
Organizers are asking community members to bring their family, friends and co-workers, put on their brightest red shirts, red hats, or red bandanas, grab an empty dinner plate (paper is fine) and help Women Ending Hunger shout out a message loud and clear enough for everyone to hear: “39,000 hungry children are 39,000 too many!” and “Childhood hunger lasts a life time!”
To stake out a place in line, contact Kat Daniel at 503-581-3855, ext.322 or firstname.lastname@example.org. After the stand-in, participants can enjoy the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation’s back-to-school pep rally and other First Wednesday events.
Women Ending Hunger will have an information table in front of Copper John’s where participants may get involved in the local fight against hunger by donating food, funds and time as a new member of Women Ending Hunger and friend of Marion-Polk Food Share.
Source: Marion-Polk Food Share www.marionpolkfoodshare.org