Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Grab a date

Eat out to satisfy other's hunger


By JENNIFER LIEBRUM
Express Staff Writer

The Hunger Coalition feeds the valley’s struggling families. Express file photo

Ever order more than you can eat, and beg the waiter to take it away so you don't overindulge? Ever had a mother tell you to clean your plate because there are starving people around the globe who would love your leftovers? Ever thought that by eating you could actually be feeding a family?

On Friday, Oct. 21, that's exactly what your transaction at one of 11 valley restaurants will do—provide you with a nice night out and give a family that otherwise might be riding out hunger a chance to gather together over a meal as well.

October is national Hunger Awareness month and The Hunger Coalition is hosting Dine Out Blaine County.

There are 1,333 children and adults in Blaine County who have needed food assistance from The Hunger Coalition so far this year.

And with the struggling economy, hunger is also an ongoing and growing local problem. Since the beginning of 2008, more than 10 percent of Blaine County's population has reached out for assistance due to food insecurity, according to statistics provided by The Hunger Coalition.

There is more to the issue of hunger than an absence of food. The children in this community who experience hunger and malnutrition are not living up to their fullest potential. Parents trying to provide for their families on less than a living wage struggle daily to get by. For hundreds of people in this community, there is not enough to make ends meet.

So now that the full impact of the need is established, here's how you can fill up your tummies, your soul and The Hunger Coalition's pantries.

Plan to meet your friends and family at one of these participating restaurants. They are CK's Real Food, Cornerstone Bar & Grill, Despo's, Globus, KB's Burritos, Lefty's Bar & Grill, Mahoney's, McClains Pizzeria, Sun Valley Brewery and Wise Guy Pizza.

While you are there, volunteer "ambassadors" from The Hunger Coalition will be on hand to share information and encourage donations.

By participating in Dine Out Blaine County, you are supporting local restaurants and the local economy and ensuring that there is wholesome food for everyone in the community.

The Hunger Coalition not only provides food from its food bank in Bellevue, no questions asked, but also partners with local schools to get weekly backpacks of food to every student who might head into a weekend in a food-insecure home. It also partners with the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley to provide pet food for people who might need help taking care of their pets in these uncertain times.

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Think about it:

Since 2008, more than 10 percent of Blaine County residents have asked for help to feed their families. About 45 percent of those clients are under the age of 18. In 2011 through August, The Hunger Coalition has given out more than 96,000 meals.

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What to do about it:

Go out to dinner, Friday, Oct. 21, at one of the participating restaurants. Tell someone who might need help about The Hunger Coalition. Donate time or money to the food bank. To get more information on all the above, call 788-0121 or visit www.thehungercoalition.org.




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