Hunger seems to be filling a lot of our pages this week, stories that are heartbreaking in a rich country such as ours. The numbers are mindboggling ó fully one-third of our local kids are arriving at school with empty bellies each day ó and their cash-strapped parents are using the Food Bank more and more often.
Since 1999 the Breakfast for Kids program has existed on the Coast. Until this year the magicians that run the program managed to find the funds to feed up to 600 kids per day. But now the funding has dried up and Heather Gordon, the coordinator and Sally Simpson the programmer are sounding the alarm that unless something changes drastically there wonít be any food come September.
Gordon tells us that a child can be fed for $15 each per year, less cash than a federal member of Parliament paid for one glass of orange juice in a hotel. Kids deserve to eat. No one should be expected to learn on an empty stomach. Growing bodies require enough nourishment for their brains and bodies to function.
And while itís easy to look to the government to solve the problem of hunger in our community, the sad truth is there just isnít enough money to go around. And thatís where we come in.
We need to put aside our judgmental natures and rather than try to find blame for the problem letís just fix it. Why a child is hungry is far less important than how hungry he or she is. Many of us campaign to change society, we rail against the government, point fingers at parents struggling against insurmountable odds and look to social agencies to provide for the need. But now itís time for all of us to wear the problem. And hereís an easy way to do it for less than most of us spend in a week on coffee we can sponsor a child for a year. Go to your local branch of the Sunshine Coast Credit Union, deposit $15 in the Sunshine Coast Breakfast for Kids account number 46546. If your means stretch to giving more mail a donation to Box 1545, Sechelt, BC V0N 3A0. Make your cheque payable to School District 46 with Breakfast for Kids in the memo line to ensure a receipt for donations over $20. Challenge others to match or beat your donation.
And if youíre able to leave a legacy why not set up an endowment with the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation that could help fund the Breakfast for Kids program every year. Right now would be a good time to do that with matching funds available from the Barron Endowment. Go to the Foundationís website www.sccfoundation.com for more information.
We live in a caring, loving community, letís show just how much.