Chad Gray, a fourth-grade student at Prien Lake Elementary, puts canned goods in a local a food pantry shelves. Gray and his class collected and purchased food to donate to the Manna Food Pantry in Lake Charles. (Michelle Higginbotham / American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, August 10, 2012 5:39 PM
The pleas for help should impact us all like a huge splash of cold water on our faces.
This newspaper reported recently that local food pantries are currently feeling the squeeze from a decline in donations and an increase in demand.
Here in the greatest nation on earth, hunger remains a constant reminder of the less fortunate.
A report last year by Feeding America noted that nearly 25,000 men, women and children in Calcasieu Parish — more than 13 percent of the population — suffer from food insecurity, a condition defined as a household economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to food.
Hunger is equal opportunity: it draws no distinction, nor does it discriminate when it comes to color, ethnicity, age or neighborhood.
It is particularly brutal on the young. The Feeding America report estimated that more than one in every five children in Calcasieu, Beauregard, Cameron and Jeff Davis parishes is considered ‘‘food insecure.’’
And it’s only become more grim of late as the Second Harvest Food Bank of New Orleans and Acadiana is taking in less food. That means food pantries in the 23 parishes in south Louisiana that Second Harvest serves have been dramatically affected.
Food from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Food Assistance Program to Second Harvest is down nearly 4 million pounds from last year.
The recent spike in gasoline prices raises the price of transporting products to area pantries, thus cutting further into their ability to feed the hungry.
What can individuals and businesses do to fill in the gaps?
Second Harvest recommends donating money — it says it can provide four meals for every donated dollar — buying an extra nonperishable food item at the grocery store and giving it to a food bank or volunteering for an hour a week at an area food bank.
Churches, civic clubs, fraternal organizations and schools can also rally to the cause.
Chances are some child, some senior, some out-of-work adult in our area will not have the same satisfying breakfast, lunch or dinner that you will have today.
You can either ignore that or answer the call.
Which will it be?
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.