President John F. Kennedy once said, “The war against hunger is truly mankind’s war of liberation.”
In Arkansas, one in five people are food insecure. One in four children face hunger and forty percent of senior citizens are uncertain of the next time they will receive a nutritious meal.
Although Arkansas’s food insecurity rate declined slightly from 19.9 percent in 2014 to 19.2 percent in 2015, there is still much to be done.
These statistics represent Arkansas’s children, parents, grandparents and friends – they are our neighbors. Let’s set aside our differences and rally as a state to make an impact in someone’s life.
Throughout the month of September, Arkansans from near and far made donations to the Great Arkansas Food Drive. Many used the “Be Neighborly” smartphone app that allows people to purchase and donate pre-filled grocery bags to one of six Arkansas hunger relief organizations.
September is nearly over, but each of us can continue fighting hunger by donating to local food drives, using the “Be Neighborly” app or offering a helping hand to those who are in need. As we close out the month and enter the fall, I urge all Arkansans to continue looking out for each other, especially within our communities.
As a state, we are incredibly fortunate. Our economy is growing, our unemployment rate is low and our students are being better prepared for what lies ahead of them. But sometimes we forget to appreciate the simple and great importance of daily meals.
Having lived through the Great Depression, my parents knew the struggle of hunger. As a child, I remember eating simple foods like cornbread and all kinds of stew that my parents had been raised on. My family was fortunate to always have just enough to go around, but we were continually mindful and careful to share our bounty with neighbors.
Those experiences taught me the importance of doing all we can to aid and assist those who go hungry. Hunger should never be the norm. What we do in Arkansas matters. Together, let’s unite in the fight against hunger and support our neighbors in need.