Food for thought — and action

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Itís been looking a lot like Christmas for too blasted long.

Just not if you happen to be peering at the empty shelves in your local food bank.

Though snow and cold persist, the warmth of the holiday season melted for many a couple of months ago. The last thing on some peopleís minds is letting their generosity run rampant again.

We beg you to reconsider.

Your local food bank needs help. Now.

Thousands of Kootenai County residents canít wait until next Thanksgiving or Christmas to get hungry again. Many of them, including children, woke up this morning with empty stomachs.

Donít think these are all welfare cases, either. Roughly one third of Kootenai Countyís residents, and more than 40 percent in Coeur díAlene proper, are the working poor. They make too much to qualify for some programs while making too little to afford sufficient basics in life. That includes food.

The Community Action Partnership Kootenai County Food Bank alone serves 1,000 people and distributes 25,000 pounds of food in the community each week. The numbers might not be so overwhelming at other locations, but they all need help ó right now.

Our local libraries have the right spirit. Throughout the month of March, library patrons who owe late fees on borrowed items can pay them off with nonperishables. The food collected by each library will go to its nearest food bank, so donations will be kept local.

Now, what about you? How can you help?

Food banks greatly appreciate one-time gifts, so if youíre willing, pick up any of the following items and drop them off at your nearest facility this week: condensed/ready-to-eat soup, canned beans/chili, boxed sides such as pasta and rice, canned fruit, canned vegetables and tuna.

Better still, perhaps you can help ease the ongoing emergency. Can you buy some extra nonperishables each week when youíre grocery shopping and then drop them off? Once a month?

Can your work group, church, civic organization or club commit to regular food donations? If thatís too much effort, monetary contributions are always welcome, too.

We can think of no better way to keep the spirit of Christmas alive the whole year through than regularly giving nonperishable food items to your local food bank. CAP Food Bank, 4144 W. Industrial Loop in Coeur díAlene, is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Post Falls Food Bank, 415 E. Third Ave., is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Be their Santa Claus and bask in that glow of giving all year long.

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