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Helping feed the hungry


We are hearing more and more these days that many of our fellow citizens are facing hunger. Food pantries have long lines. Some people interviewed for news reports state that they are coming to get food from these sources for the very first time.

Food costs are expensive but just how expensive? What does that fact mean to individuals and their families? I decided to do a little research to get a better perspective. I relied on both Texas state and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Census websites. These sites give general statistical information, but bottom line, food is expensive and getting more so. And each family and their needs are different.

In their March, 2022 report, released in April 2022, the USDA states that a family of four, consisting of two adults aged 20-50, and two children aged 6-10, spends $278 per week, which is $14,472 per year on groceries. This is classified as a “moderate” food budget. The average family member eats $3-5 worth of food at each meal at home, according to these sites. The average meal eaten out is $11. You can see that eating out just a few times a year can drive the food budget out of sight. Add another child or two and teenagers, then I can’t imagine what the food bill would be.

These statistics assume people are buying food and preparing it at home. Leftovers are used and not thrown away and people are taking their lunches to work and school.

The state of Texas says that the median income for families is $67,000. That means more than half are earning less than that much. Many earn $40-50,000.00 or even less. Imagine a family of four making $40,000 or less needing to spend a “moderate” amount of nearly $15,000 from their annual earnings for food, then pay rent, gasoline, insurance, etc.

I noticed the problem first-hand when I began exercising last year at the Benbrook YMCA. There are stout metal shelves with food stacked on them at the entry doors. I started bringing mostly canned goods and dry pasta to the YMCA. I would bring a load on Fridays and by Monday, most of what I had brought was gone.

I asked the YMCA personnel how it worked. They said that food appears from donors and food disappears, no questions asked. People in need just know where the source is for food.

Another source is The Center of Hope in Weatherford. They have a pantry that looks like a mini-mart.

If you want to help, go to your pantry and see what has been in there for a while and maybe needs a new home, and then sack it up and take it to the YMCA or The Center of Hope, 1318 Clear Lake Road, Weatherford. You can search for sales at stores and take those to these places. You can also send checks, charge a donation, or even volunteer.

I don’t know what the ultimate solution to this problem could be. I know I can’t solve it. There may be a political solution but political blame is not the point I am making. Let us feed the hungry now and solve the immediate problem.

My purpose is to make people aware that families are struggling and need help. Food and water are the basic necessities for humans to survive.  Shelter is the next basic necessity.

There was a story in The Community News a few years ago that reported a higher than expected number of homeless students in the Aledo ISD. Some were living in storage units. I hope that situation has improved.

I know that even if each of us does just a little bit, it is better than doing nothing.

I know it makes me feel good when I see the food I donated one day is gone the next time I visit the YMCA.

Sometimes I wonder what child or adult ate the can of soup or mac and cheese I donated and I say a little prayer for them.


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