Local charitable organizations and volunteers have worked many hours to help feed the needy this holiday season. Their efforts are to be commended, and they know from firsthand experience that we definitely have people in our community who are without food.
This is tragic, particularly when the hungry ones are children.
This week, Randolph County school officials talked to The Inter-Mountain about efforts to make sure students have enough to eat during the Christmas break, which begins Monday and runs through Jan. 2.
Many Randolph County children eat both breakfast and lunch at their schools. During Christmas break those meals won't be provided, which worries some officials.
"Sometimes parents spend so much time in their daily grind that they are not accustomed to having their children home for an extended period of time," said Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Terry George. "We want students who are away from school for an extended period of time to maintain a healthy lifestyle on their break."
Officials aren't just worried that parents won't plan ahead and have healthy food on hand. They know that for some local families, those school-provided meals are a necessity.
Ladonna Rosencrance, coordinator of Child Nutrition for Randolph County Schools, wants parents to know that, if necessary, they can look toward a local food bank for help.
This is by no means just a local phenomenom.
An NPR?story titled "For Many Kids, Winter Break Means Hungry Holidays" stated that a study by the anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength found more than half of teachers have used their own money to buy food for hungry students.
Linda Godfrey, who advises school districts on their meal operations and ran a summer food program for kids, told NPR some children would "have their faces to the door" as early as 6 a.m. during the summer. "And as soon as the doors would open at 11 o'clock, they would already be lined up, and they were extremely hungry. Especially on Monday."
The winter months bring holiday hunger problems, Godfrey said.
"I had children that would come up to me and say, 'I really don't want to be out of school for Christmas because we know we're not going to get much to eat,'" she told NPR.
Only a truly heartless person could fail to be moved by the plight of a hungry child. We urge parents to make sure they have food for their kids during the holiday break - even if it means asking for help. And we encourage everyone else to give to those charitable organizations we mentioned earlier, and support their efforts to end hunger locally.
We don't want any local kids to have a hungry holiday - or to go without food any other day.