Stamping out hunger Harvest for the Hungry: Making a donation of food this week is as easy as mailing a letter.

March 18, 1996

WHEN HARVEST FOR the Hungry began nine years ago as a volunteer organization providing groceries to Maryland food banks, 450 providers were scattered across the state. Here's a "misery index": The number of food banks has since doubled. And yet despite the boom in providers, they are having trouble keeping pace with demand from hungry individuals and families.

This dilemma was the focus of a "hunger summit" in Annapolis last December, where government officials, businesses and non-profit groups discussed how better to help the needy. Gov. Parris N. Glendening created a nutrition council to develop long-term strategy. It was an important step. But hunger is not an issue that need be left to social service professionals, elected officials and bureaucrats. All of us can make a difference in the fight against hunger. A statewide food drive this week needs your support.

Through Saturday, postal workers in Maryland will participate in Harvest for the Hungry's "Letter Carrier Week." Mail carriers will collect donations of non-perishable food items during their rounds. Items can be placed in a bag at the base of your mailbox.

The idea for the program stemmed from the year-round need for food, in spite of the public's concentration on giving around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Harvest for the Hungry founder Larry Adam Jr. believes correctly that a busy populace will give more if it is easier for them to give. Last year, this campaign netted 500,000 pounds of food. He hopes to do even better this time.

Buffeted by economic uncertainly and business mergers in recent years, corporate giving has declined even with hunger on the rise. That makes the success of campaigns such as this even more vital. Too, families tend to donate more well-balanced foods the type they eat themselves which are essential to food pantries.

We believe many Marylanders would be happy to donate more often, but don't have the time to travel to the nearest food pantry, or may have trouble remembering when their own church or synagogue holds a collection. This effort to combat hunger, however, is as easy as mailing a letter.

Pub Date: 3/18/96

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