Friday Afternoon Club: Help the Hungry

Two chances to help the hungry this weekend, one in South Kitsap, where South Kitsap School District encourages citizens to fill a school bus with food products. The other is no farther than your mailbox, as the U.S. Postal Service once again sponsors a Stamp Out Hunger Day.

Below is the press release from the school district and a letter to the editor from Monica Bernhard of Bremerton Foodline (note she says Saturday is the 9th; it is the 8th, regardless, Saturday is the day you should put food in your mailbox because the Postal Service doesn’t come on Sunday). Sally Santana, on her blog, had the correct date.

From SKSD:
Community rallies to help “Stuff the Bus”

Released: Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The SKSD Stuff the Bus food drive was a huge success last weekend! District transportation workers and volunteers collected 4,000 pounds of food and $359 in cash. All donations will be given to the South Kitsap Helpline.

A large yellow bus was parked at Safeway on Bethel Avenue on Saturday, May 1 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Donations were collected from shoppers, SKSD schools, and at many other locations.

Event volunteers included; Larry Durfey, Carrie Nielsen, Norma Jacobs, Linda Nguyen, Kathy Harmon, Vicki Murtha, Kim Pickering, Rita DaWald, Amber Burton, Doni Mercer, Becky Blinn and grandson Alan, Nancy Aune, Joe Ho, Gayle Newton, Robbie Wolcott, Emily Rickett, and Tyler Moon.

“We would like to give a special thanks to the Director of Transportation, Scott Logan, for giving his time to drive the bus,” said Vicki Murtha, bus driver and event coordinator. “Without his help, none of this would have happened.”

The event was coordinated by the district’s bus drivers and transportation employees. Another event is already scheduled for next year on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

For more information, please call 360-874-7090.

Here’s Monica Bernhard:
Reader Submitted

She drives your child’s school bus or takes care of your aging parents at a local nursing home. He fills your order at the local drive-thru or is your checker at the corner grocery store. They help teachers in class rooms, work at day cares and gas stations, deliver our papers, clean our offices and fix our cars. They own homes, rent apartments, live in cars, in tents and under bridges.

Some wrestle with addictions, mental illness or disabilities. Others live alone, struggling with the pain of loneliness. Some have worn our nation’s uniform while others are honoring us with their service at this very moment. Try as we might like, it is not possible to stereotype the individuals served by our local food banks. The only common thread many of them share is that today they are hungry. Today they need food. Today they are asking for help, maybe swallowing their pride in the process.

Every month, thousands of families across our community turn to one of the eight Kitsap County food banks for help. We are not grocery stores for the poor. Instead, we are part of the emergency safety net that is the heart of this community. Most families served turn to their food bank 4-5 times a year those times when they simply are unable to make ends meet. The food they need is available because you, our neighbors, have chosen to support us. Time and time again, your gifts of time, food, financial support, leadership and encouragement have made it possible for local food banks to take care of your neighbors in their personal time of crisis. On behalf of these families, we thank you.

We are looking for your help once again. On Saturday, May 9th, residents of Kitsap County will have the opportunity to join citizens across the United States in the “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive sponsored by the the National Association of Letter Carriers, with participation also by rural carriers. It’s easy. In the few days leading up to the community wide drive, look in your mailbox for bags that will be dropped off to collect your donations of non-perishable food items. Personal hygiene products and diapers are also accepted. If you don’t have a bag, any bag will do. Simply leave your donations next to your mailbox on Saturday, May 9th and your postal carrier will take it from there. Whether it’s a grocery bag full or a single can left over in your pantry, this simple act of individual generosity will keep the shelves of the eight Kitsap County Food banks stocked well into the summer. Thanks to the hard work of postal workers and countless volunteers, your food will be delivered the very same day to the food bank nearest your home, ready to be given out right away.

Last year our residents donated more than 147,000 pounds of food in the Stamp Out Hunger food drive to local food banks, one can at a time. In light of the current economic situation, the need has only grown so we encourage you to tell your friends, challenge your congregations, and put up reminders at your businesses or your reader boards. This is our community. These are our neighbors.

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of such a pervasive and complex issue such as hunger. Yet, we can bring about the change we seek when we remember that each of us has the opportunity to choose our response to this community tragedy. What can each of us do to stop hunger? Sometimes the answer starts with a single can of food.

Monica Bernhard

Executive Director, Bremerton Foodline

President, Kitsap County Foodbank Coalition

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