World Hunger Day will be observed on May 28 throughout the world and nation. But sometimes, we need look no farther than our own backyards to realize that many of our neighbors, young and old, feel hunger on a daily basis.
It is estimated that one-seventh of the world’s population lives in extreme hunger. Although the level of hunger in our community is only a portion of that, the amount of hunger we see locally through the Clover Area Assistance Center is still alarming.
Many of us have misconceptions about hunger in our area and are unable to separate “hunger” from “starvation.” The people who come to our food pantry are not starving. They look just like you and me and have favorite food items, as well as things they won’t eat.
However, hunger in our area may be reflected in an elderly couple stretching food for one meal to last over a few days. It is families going without at least two meals a day for an extended period of time. It is children going to school and receiving free and reduced lunch, but going home to a small meal that lacks the nutrition necessary to remain healthy.
It is households with limited money, having to decide between buying food, purchasing much needed medication, paying the rent, or stopping their utilities from being disconnected. In reality, choices are more difficult when you do not have the money to provide for the basic necessities of life. Some may call this “food insecurity”. We know it is hunger.
We at Clover Area Assistance Center are asking residents, churches, businesses, and service organizations to join us in our first annual observance of World Hunger Day, and help us end hunger in our community.
With your help, we hope to meet two goals. One is to raise funds to help combat hunger, and the second is to raise awareness of need and what it feels like to be hungry. On May 28, we are asking you to forgo lunch or dinner and donate what that meal would have cost to CAAC.
By skipping a meal, you may personally feel what hunger is like for a few hours, but you will have to imagine that feeling multiplied in order to understand what so many in our community experience every day.
Every bit helps! Some people, such as members of the Lake Wylie Rotary, have pledged to skip their lunch and donate the funds to CAAC. For every $5 we receive, we are able to purchase more than 30 pounds of food for our pantry.
All donations will be used for the purchase of food. Donations can be mailed to CAAC, P.O. Box 521, Clover, SC 29710. If you would like to be a part of the effort to end hunger in our community, skip a meal and mail a check.
Karen van Vierssen is executive director of CAAC.