‘Hunger fluency’ statistics show need

Cindy Irvin
Director, Good Samaritan Center

The Good Samaritan Center sits quietly behind Slavens’ in the alley. It is a good location for people in a pickle to come and get food to take home and cook. We have been giving out sacks of food for almost 31 years. Here are some things I learned recently while attending a program put on by Care and Share, Inc., from Colorado Springs.

“Hunger fluency” statistics show food assistance eligibility requirements are sometimes difficult.

29 percent of the people in need do not qualify for any government programs. These are considered the working poor.

16 percent are children.

55 percent do qualify for food stamps.

The elderly do all the paperwork and some only qualify for $22 a month.

1 in 6 families:

a) are considered marginal. (The children look into the fridge and say,“There is nothing to eat in here.” They mean goodies or junk food.)

b) have low food security and limited nutritional food available.(These eat high carbs like lots of bread and ramen noodles — empty calories.)

c)have very low food security. (These start the day with no breakfast and may not have any lunch.)

Eating poorly can lead to vulnerability to illness, nutritional deprivation, listlessness, aggression, depression, anxiety, oral health problems, and if pregnant, low birth weight.

If we look at the overall picture, the way we eat influences our entire society. Children are not active and get low grades, adults cannot hold jobs, and the elderly have no strength in their bodies. Of these, one in three chooses between food and medicines or utilities. Do we eat or pay the rent? Inevitably, 38 percent of people receive help from charitable organizations or soup kitchens.

At the Good Samaritan Center we are open Monday through Thursday from noon to 2 p.m. Clients need a photo ID. In May and June, we had 39 new cases. In the past years we helped once a month, and now we help every 2 months because we have more than 6000 files in our drawers and the people have to learn not to waste. My favorite saying is “Waste not, want not.”

In May and June, we helped 275 cases equaling 906 mouths to feed. Seventeen were elderly; five were grandparents with grandchildren; three were teenagers; 14 had two families sharing one household. Rent is high and they are moving in together to make ends meet.

Eleven walked to get food. One of these was thrilled to bits because someone donated a really nice bike and we decided to give it to the next one who came in who had no ride! One lady cried because she was using toilet tissue in her eye patch and we just happened to have gauze pads to give her. A man newly out of work cried because we gave him so much and he was so scared for his children. We gave out approximately: $28,970 worth of food.

Thank you to our very generous community for financial help, food drives, fresh vegetables, fresh farm eggs, meat, potatoes, onions and carrots. We are very blessed by donations from Safeway, Colorado Care and Share, Inc., and Walmart.

Recently one of my volunteers was shocked that the couple who came in were one of her kid’s neighbors. In the scriptures we are asked, “Who is our neighbor?” In today’s world, do we know?

Several clients have donated clothes, their muscles to help unload, or, in May and June, $55 to repay.

I wish there were some profound words to describe the appreciation we feel as you in our community bless our shelves. One retired couple shops weekly at Walgreens getting coupon deals and senior discount to provide for our clients.

Thanks be to God as He supplies all our needs in accordance with His riches and glory.

Cindy Irvin is the director of the Good Samaritan Center in Cortez.

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