DP – Please sir, we need to do more

Dominion Post Editorial

You never know who you’ll see standing in a soup line.

But this Saturday you’re almost certain to see someone you know in one.

No, it’s not that kind of soup line and the Hazel and J.W. Ruby Community Center at Mylan Park is certainly no soup kitchen. We’re referring to the 9th annual Empty Bowls fundraising soup and bread luncheon from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Fundraising is as much a part of the fabric of this region as the buck firearms season and WVU football.

Almost everyone has volunteered or supported efforts to raise money for their child’s school, where they worship, or for a favorite charity.

Those efforts are important, too, but most would agree that feeding the hungry is the most vital need in our community and our world.

What the Empty Bowls program does is raise funds through $15 per person tickets to the event and contributions by individuals, churches, civic groups, businesses and foundations.

Empty Bowls Monongalia reports it has raised nearly $275,000 since 2007.

The list of recipients of this largesse is impressive. It includes seven local meal programs that serve more than 140,000 meals annually.

It also provides funding for 11 local food pantries that help more than 22,000 people annually.

And it also helps to support three weekend backpack programs, that serve nearly 1,000 children weekly.

Empty Bowl Monongalia distributed $77,750 to these pantries and programs, in 2014.

Clearly, many throughout our community also contribute equally to other agencies and programs serving the hungry.

But there’s a proverb that seems to serve Empty Bowls Monongalia well: Worries go down better with soup.

Just as important as the funds this event will raise, it also raises this community’s awareness about hunger.

Few realize the extent of food insecurity in Monongalia County. For the well fed, food insecurity is a state of being unable to consistently access adequate amounts of nutritious food.

For most of us, food is just a matter of choices in our refrigerators and cabinets, not having access to it.

But for more than 15.9 percent of our county’s residents, according to Feed America, who were food insecure in 2012, it wasn’t that simple.

In two of our county’s elementary schools, more than half the children qualify for free or reduced meals, while more than 40 percent of students in two middle schools qualify.

Some say hunger is the best cook, bar none.

That’s questionable, but many of our neighbors will not leave the table hungry, thanks to this fundraiser.