Contributed by Eddie Ezelle, Executive Director
The Food4Kids summer program of the MatSu Food Bank is off to a bang of a start, serving free lunches to kids 18 and under.
The first week was cloudy, a little rainy and unseasonably cool, but we still served a surprising number of kids. Into the second and third week, it has only increased. With sunny weather (even rain), the parks are being well used by all. We serve in five locations (see our website for more information) around Wasilla, Monday to Friday.
A child cannot think about life lessons if they are hungry. All they can think about is where or when they are going to be able to eat. The saying, healthy bodies equal healthy minds, is true in more ways than we know. (Yes, I know it’s backwards.) One way we support healthy kids is through the Food4Kids program. And don’t forget the Country Legend’s 100.9 “Million Pennies” campaign to help the Food4Kids. For more information check out www.MatSuFoodBank.org.
At the same time, the MatSu Food Bank has been preparing for the increasing tide of people who are hurting due to things like the lack of a budget for the State of Alaska (could be taxes and PFDs smaller) to layoffs and general fears of what will happen at the federal level with healthcare and reductions in SNAP benefits (formerly Food Stamps). People are trying to budget for the unknown. That is difficult in the best of times.
We are seeing an increase almost daily of families that are having problems making ends meet while some are holding two jobs. This is early in the summer seasonal jobs, so it is not a good trend.
It is somehow odd that our society gives more to animal care before we give to our own neighbors who don’t have enough to eat.
Here in the Mat Su Borough, we have people who want to cut what little funding we have, thinking they are saving millions for the local government. This is not always true. We are talking less than $500,000.00 that consists of State and Borough matching monies to cover as many as thirty-five agencies that apply for a small part of this money. Not all agencies qualify for any of this funding.
There are foundations that pick various areas of current concerns to fund, but ongoing donations must come from corporate sponsors, various organizations such as churches or civic organizations and especially from you, the individual.
We rely strongly on your monetary donations to keep our doors open to give out free food. It doesn’t always make sense to people, but we must collect, transport, store and distribute the food collected and that requires operating capital. The MatSu Food Bank helps smaller agencies too that may not be able to collect, transport or store food and we do not charge fees to handle any of these food donations. The MatSu Food Bank absorbs these costs with your generous help.
With the harder times, we are trying to prepare for the swell of those in need and ask for your help. Please donate any amount you can, knowing it is helping multiple people who need “a hand up, not a hand out”.
Contact the MatSu Food Bank at 501 E. Bogard Wasilla, AK 99654, call us at 357-3769 or go online at www.MatSuFoodBank.org and look for the donate button and check out the volunteer information while you’re there.
You can make a one-time donation or a sustaining, ongoing monthly contribution in an amount you feel is comfortable for your budget. Every dollar helps. Won’t you please help? Vote for your community by spending and supporting locally.
Thank you for supporting your local community.