1 of 1
Raising awareness of hungerLucie Edwards, right, dropped some quarters into a jar for a local food pantry during a fundraiser last weekend at Happy Foods North. Ethan Harrity, left, and other 4-H members helped in the drive. (Staff photo)
Raising awareness of hunger
When Lucie Edwards saw a booth collecting funds to fight hunger last weekend at a local grocery store, she quickly made a donation.
“This is a great cause,” said Edwards, dropping in some quarters. “I know a lot of people who are struggling.”
Collecting the funds and canned goods on April 20 was Ethan Harrity, a member of the Chaparral 4-H Club, which was helping with the fundraiser.
“I just like to help out,” Ethan said about his reason for being there. People were very generous, the 4-H’ers in attendance said.
The quarters and dollars dropped into the jar last Saturday at the Happy Foods North store on Leavenworth Road will go to the HELP317 food pantry at Victory Hills Church of the Nazarene, 6200 Parallel Parkway. 4-H members staffed booths at three Wyandotte County grocery stores last weekend as part of their hunger awareness project. The money donations will be matched by the Feinstein Challenge during March and April.
Through this food drive, working at food pantries, and a public poster contest for kids, 4-H is hoping to raise awareness of hunger in the community, said Peggy Berrier Boyd, Wyandotte County 4-H agent. 4-H is partnering with the Kansas City, Kan., Public Library in offering a poster contest.
“Wyandotte County has the highest percentage in Kansas of food insecurity,” Boyd said. “Wyandotte County was 20.3 percent. It’s just unbelievable.”
Statewide, food insecurity numbers total 14. 7 percent, she said.
The figures refer to the number of people who might go hungry at some time during each day, she said. Several factors are at play in food insecurity. Some families don’t have enough funds for healthy food for every meal, she said.
Sometimes, people live in “food deserts” where they don’t have enough access to healthy foods, she said. Two such areas in Wyandotte County have included the southeast and northeast areas of Kansas City, Kan., but plans are underway to build grocery stores there.
Wyandotte County has tried several programs in the past several years to address hunger, including meals at food kitchens, food pantries, and the schools backpack program.
“There are a lot of things people can do to help address hunger in Wyandotte County,” Boyd said.
By involving students in food drives and the poster contest, she hopes to increase their education and empower them to take action, she said.
Nationally, 4-H is working with the Howard Buffett Foundation in a project to fight hunger. In rural areas, 4-H is asking farmers to donate a percentage of their produce to help the hungry. In an urban area, there are other ways people can help, Boyd said.
The Kansas City, Kan., Public Libraries, including the four branches, and the Bonner Springs Public Library are participating in the poster contest, which is open to all Wyandotte County school-aged youths. Entry blanks will be placed at the libraries in May and June. The winning posters will be displayed at the Wyandotte County Fair in July. Prizes, such as an MP3 player, digital camera and gift card to Dave and Buster’s, will be given to winners in four age groups.
“I want our volunteers to be aware of the things that we can do, as 4-H and Wyandotte County citizens, to increase the availability to healthy foods,” Boyd said.