Hunger in a land of food CARROLL COUNTY

February 03, 1993

In a county known for farms that produce a great abundance of food, there are residents who do not have enough to eat. Most of them are families. They come to Carroll County's eight food pantries hoping to obtain groceries to supplement their meager supplies at home, or to one of Carroll's five soup kitchens to get a meal.

Sometimes, the tons of food growing in the fields and orchards and the herds of animals grazing in pastures blind us to the fact that some of our neighbors are struggling to get sustenance on their tables.

Many times, it is the loss of a job that causes a family to run out of money. Sometimes, it is an unexpected expense, such as a medical emergency, that destroys a budget. Whatever the reason, the number of Carroll County families needing assistance has grown.

Last year, Food Sunday, the county's largest food pantry, distributed 275,000 pounds of food. There were 18,500 requests for emergency food packages. While the economy slowly recovers, the number of requests at Food Sunday continues to rise, albeit at a slower rate, according to director Paul Martin. Currently, about 370 Carroll County families a week receive grocery packages, which are designed to feed a family for about four days.

The hungry in Carroll have been fortunate. Carroll's citizens have been willing and generous contributors to food drives. Mr. Martin proudly says that Food Sunday has never had to turn away a hungry family; many other emergency pantries throughout Central Maryland can't say the same. Carroll's caring tradition should continue.

Residents responded generously this past holiday season, but the need for food continues. The Post Office will be conducting a food drive this month. The Boy Scouts, who normally collect during the Christmas season, will be collecting food next month. Several schools and clubs are also conducting food drives that need support. Donations of food and money are needed and will be put to good use.

Food committee officials plan to publicize the existence of such problems in Carroll County and other subdivisions when they lobby legislators in Annapolis tomorrow. Their keynote? There's no escaping hunger and poverty, not even in a county that exports food.

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