I remember, vividly, a certain payday in my life, when Brian was about 6 years old. I took my paycheck to the bank, made my house payment, paid the babysitter, and when all was said in done, had $7 left to tide me over until next week's paycheck.
Seven dollars. My budget for the week.
Sounds pitiful, doesn't it?
Seven dollars to me then meant only this: We wouldn't dine out for a week. We'd simply stay home, in the warm house that we owned, and we'd watch cable-vision, and we'd cook from well-stocked cabinets. We'd ride our bikes and play in the park, and rent books and movies from the library.
My kid would never know one way or another, if I had seven dollars or seven thousand dollars.
My kid would never be hungry.
I have never been hungry. In my life, I've never skipped a meal out of poverty. The only forced "hunger" I've ever had to tolerate would be the fasting they make you do before a medical procedure. Oh, the unfairness of it all, not eating between 8:00 p.m. and 2 p.m. the next day. The sheer suffering, huh?
I've run into a few people in my life that have been hungry. When Brian was a newborn, his babysitter, pregnant with her 2nd child, sacrificed her own meals so that her toddler daughter could eat, while her husband was off work with a severe back injury. We're not talking about skipping a meal: The woman once didn't eat for 3 days. When I found this out, my mother and I ran out and bought gift certificates at the grocery store, and put them in her mailbox.
There are a heck of a lot of people in our own community that don't have grocery fairies.
36,000 people, actually in this county and 13 surrounding counties, for instance.
That's how many people the Eastern Illinois Food bank helps out each month. 40% of them are children under the age of 18.
The Eastern Illinois Food Bank's 2007 Food for Families Drive starts tomorrow, and will run through October 27. In the next two weeks, they hope to raise $65,000 and 190,000 pounds of food. For every dollar you donate, $10 worth of food can be acquired for the bank.
Drop boxes are located at IGA's in Champaign, Rantoul, & Mahomet; County Markets in Champaign, Urbana, and Monticello; Schnucks it Champaign and Urbana; The Common Ground Food Co-op in Champaign, and at Strawberry Fields in Urbana.
If you have also never had a hungry kid, then I ask you to join me in making a gesture to the food bank over the next 2 weeks.
One thing that I'm learning about gestures is that even the smallest can change lives. Do you have $10 to spare? That will get them $100 worth of food. Even $2 will buy them $20 worth.
If you'd rather not give cash, throw one or two of the "Super Six" into your cart next time you're shopping, and leave it in the drop box on your way out ( Canned meats/fish  Canned complete meals  Canned vegetables  Canned Fruits  Boxed meals  Peanut Butter).
For more information, or to make a donation online, go to www.eifoodbank.org
If you donate online as a result of reading this or any of several other CU Bloggers who are Blogging Against Hunger, please make note of it when you're asked on whose behalf you're donating. The Food Bank is interested in tracking how much Blog-Advertising helps them out.
And, thank you.