Hunger Walk donations still welcome to help stock Freestore Foodbank

Claire Darley walked in solidarity with others working to fill the gaps of food and resources that many families and individuals experience. Walker Karl Miller recalled delivering a cake to a grandmother so that she could offer her granddaughter a birthday treat.

This year's Memorial Day Hunger Walk along Cincinnati's riverfront drew thousands of supporters of programs and services around the region that give food to those who need it most.

"At the Hunger Walk, you can experience yourself as part of a much larger group, working to fill the gaps of food and resources that many families and individuals experience occasionally or often," says Darley, a Northside resident and a professor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

Darley regularly volunteers at CAIN, Churches Active in Northside. "The CAIN guests are often under great stress in handling children, unemployment, illness," Darley says.

Proposed cuts to federal and state programs -- including the WIC program for Women, Infants and Children -- will only increase that stress on the thousands of residents who currently visit the Freestore Foodbank or one of its more than 300 affiliated food pantries, like CAIN.

Families who live in poverty have already taken significant cuts from government support. In 2010, Ohio's federal WIC funding dropped by nearly $9 million from 2009 levels of support, according to the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service data. Cuts outlined in current legislation have gotten even hard-core foodies like New York Times food writer Mark Bittman pushing themselves away from the table in symbolic fasts to draw attention to proposed cuts in programs that provide essential help for the hungry.

Do Good:

Help the Hunger Walk. Though the Memorial Day 5K is done, you can still donate online until June 20.

Seal that gap in your window. Seriously. This summer, Champion Windows will donate 50 pounds of food for every in-home call and 100 pounds of food for every project ordered by Aug. 31. It's called "Close the Window on Hunger," and it could just increase your energy efficiency while providing food for some of the 300,000 children in the Cincinnati region who don't know where their next nutritious meal will come from.

Learn about proposed federal budget cuts. The non-profit Bread for the World provides a handy online resource about hunger and the U.S. budget.

By Elissa Yancey
Photo courtesy Freestore Foodbank

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