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The Hunger Season is Upon Us

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When February arrives, The Hunger Coalition braces. Last March, The Hunger Coalition saw 576 locals come through their lines at the Mobile Food Bank—a record high—compared to their last high of 481 people in March of 2011. Many reasons were thrown around for the large uptick in numbers—lack of snow being the biggest. This year, thankfully, the snow fell hard in December, but The Hunger Coalition is still bracing.

February also starts the beginning of the “Hunger Season”, when need is at its highest and food donations plummet dramatically. Warehouse shelves become bare and thousands of locals have a tough time putting healthy food on the table. “Early spring has typically been a very busy time for us in the past few years,” said Naomi Spence, associate director of the Hunger Coalition. “Many seasonal jobs depend on snow, and when we experience a dry period like this, those workers are hit hard with smaller paychecks and sudden layoffs,” said Spence.

In 2014, The Hunger Coalition served 3,543 people—16% of the county’s population. A whopping 9,487 breakfasts and lunches were served through the Summer Food Program, and 957 bags of pet food were distributed through the Paws for Hunger program, a partnership with the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley.

During the “Hunger Season” please consider a donation of food, time or money to The Hunger Coalition. “While the need is great, we are fortunate to live in a small enough community where it’s possible to ensure that no one goes hungry,” said Jeanne Liston, executive director. “Unlike bigger cities with vast amounts of hungry and homeless people, our supporters know that their gifts to The Hunger Coalition truly make an impact and are not just a drop in the bucket of endless need.”

What you can do: Atkinsons’ Markets and Albertsons both have yellow donation bins, where community members can contribute non-perishable items and Atkinsons’ Markets also sells “Stop Hunger Cards” at checkout stands, where donations come directly to The Hunger Coalition.

The Hunger Coalition strives to end hunger in our community by providing wholesome food to those in need and by promoting solutions to the underlying causes of hunger through collaboration, education and advocacy. For more information, visit www.thehungercoalition.org.

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