Freedom from hunger

Yesterday I read some statistics (courtesy of Jeremy Willet’s blog) on fireworks and children:

  • Nearly 13,000 people visit the hospital each year due to fireworks-related injuries.  Over half those injured are children.
  • Approximately 6,000 fireworks are launched during a 20 minute fireworks show.  That is one firework every 5 seconds.
  • One child dies every 5 seconds of hunger-related causes, somewhere in the world.  That’s 16,000 children a day.

It’s easy to look at those numbers and be unaffected, since it’s unlikely you personally know someone who has died from a hunger-related cause.  In this part of the world, that’s unusual.  However, hunger itself is not.

Just ask my friend Jeff Hoch, Volunteer Coordinator for the Salvation Army in La Crosse.  Every day, during the summer, he gives out over 400 lunches to hungry kids in La Crosse and Onalaska.  According to Jeff, childhood hunger is a growing problem in the La Crosse area.  Although we need to address the reasons why so many children are in this situation, the reality is, no child should ever have to worry about whether or not they will eat each day.  Especially not right here in our community.  Not when we can do something about it.

What can we do?  Jeff says all the food is donated, so the program runs on the generosity of the public.  We can do more in numbers, so get your church, business, or club motivated to donate food.  Take one of the your family vacation days to help pack lunches or distribute the food.

Help is also needed starting this weekend for “Steppin’ Back 2 School” program.  Record numbers are expected to register for the program this year, which helps provide clothing and supplies for children in need.  Registration will take place on Friday July 6 from 1pm-4pm, Saturday from 10am-1pm, Monday July 9 from 1-4pm, and Tuesday July 10th from 1pm-4pm.  Call the Salvation Army and ask for Brooke or Jason to get on the schedule.  At least 15 people are needed each day.

All right, folks – here’s the number:  608-782-6126

Today, we celebrate our independence and personal freedoms.  Let’s pay it forward by freeing our own from the shackles of poverty.

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