“Food insecurity” is bureaucratese for “hungry.” Not the “Oh, it’s 1 p.m. and I haven’t had lunch yet” hungry, or the “Damn, I’m on a diet” kind. We’re talking about friends and neighbors who, on any given day, may be forced to choose between buying food and buying gas, between paying the dinner bill and the doctor’s bill, between keeping bellies filled or the lights on.
Texas is the third “hungriest” state in the nation, another one of those areas where the Lone Star shines with a dark light. In the 13 counties served by Tarrant Area Food Bank, more than 317,000 adults and children are at risk of hunger. And thousands of them, when they run out of money before they run out of month, turn to one of the local charities that get some or all their give-away groceries from the Tarrant Area Food Bank.
Usually around this time of year, the food bank’s stores are depleted from the high demands of summer, when families whose kids get free school breakfasts and lunches don’t have that option. So it’s good that September is “Hunger Action Month.” One action you can take: Go to the Food Bank yourself. You’re invited, on Sept. 18 for an informal lunch and behind-the-scenes tour.
If you go, you might be surprised to find out who’s asking for help these days. Most clients – about 68 percent – come from households of three people or less, said the food bank’s Andrea Helms. Many of those are one-person establishments, and the one person is elderly. How many are U.S. citizens? About 88 percent, Helms said, although citizenship is not a screening criteria.
Helms said the food bank is always in need of protein (canned tuna, ham, salmon, etc.), dried beans, peanut butter, boxed pasta. Powdered milk, baby formula and cereal are also must-haves. So take a friend to lunch at Tarrant Area Food Bank. You have to reserve your table by Sept. 16 – call 817-332-9177. And think about a donation. You can replace one $3 latte with a donation that will buy about 15 meals. A smoothie for you – or milk for a month for a family? Feeling creamy or crunchy?
Then drop off some peanut butter (nothing past its expiration date, please). In short, be a tuna helper. A bunch of kids and single moms and old people and working families will thank you.
With no letters page this week, Static takes over the make-it-right duty: Our Sept. 5 cover story (“Devolution in Education”) stated that most of the leaders of the Center for Science and Culture are not scientists. In fact, director Stephen Meyer has an undergraduate degree in physics and geology, and four of the center’s other 11 senior fellows have advanced science degrees. Fort Worth Weekly regrets the error.