9/29/2011 1:09:00 PM My Turn: Fighting Hunger: A Community Effort
Brian A. LeStourgeon
Arizona is now fifth in the nation in terms of citizens living in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About one-in-five residents live in households that earn less than federal poverty standards. Our own Congressional District 1 ranks as the 14th highest district in the nation with families that cannot regularly afford their own food needs. One-third of Yavapai county families work enough that they are not considered to be in poverty, but still don’t have the financial resources to put food on the table. The Verde Valley in particular continues to be one of the most underserved areas in the state for food assistance.
This is why community-based anti-hunger organizations like the Bread of Life are more important than ever. Week by week the Bread of Life is here, annually serving 7,800 meals and distributing nearly a half-million pounds of food in Camp Verde, Cornville, Cottonwood and Beaver Creek. Partnering with churches and community organizations, concerned businesses and good citizens, we strive to create a safe place where people facing hardship can find some relief.
Especially in these economic times, we find more and more opportunities to help our neighbors. The Bread of Life is asking for more partners to help keep us all moving forward until the job situation improves. A little help can go a long way: $150 feeds a family of four for 18 weeks. $21 provides one hundred pounds of food for the needy. Even $1.20 can supply one day’s worth of basic meals. It really doesn’t take much to “give a leg up” to a hurting family. But we must all do it together, and we must be constant in our efforts.
The need for basic food assistance is greater than before and continues to increase. About 25 percent of Camp Verde families will receive food from the Bread of Life this year. Many more families would legitimately qualify. Now is the time to come together with our can-do attitude and make sure each family can make it through to the recovery. We need your help to meet these challenges. Please make donations to the Bread of Life a priority this year.
One of the great things about the Verde Valley is the mixture of an independent spirit with a community identity. We respect people who do all they can. There is no shame in working hard and trying to do right, even if it does not quite seem to be enough. We want to say “thank you” to everyone who has joined the fight against hunger in our community. We are your neighbors, and neighbors who stick together make the community strong.
If you cannot make ends meet for your family we invite you to join us every Tuesday night at 5:30 for dinner in the Camp Verde town gym. Food boxes are also available at this time.
Brian A. LeStourgeon is the Chairman of the Board for the Bread of Life Missions, Inc. Donations to the Bread of Life can be sent to P.O. Box 2991, Camp Verde, AZ 86322.