EDITORIAL – Working together to banish hunger from our shores

For those of us who are fortunate enough not to worry about where our next meal will come from, it can be easy to forget that some of our neighbours are going hungry. It is a quiet crisis, suffered individually, behind closed doors.

But even a prosperous community like ours is not immune from the scourge of hunger. Last weekend, an army of orange-clad volunteers brought visibility to the problem while offering us all a chance to help.

About 250 people signed up to shake a tin at one of 30 locations as part of Meals on Wheels’ annual ‘¢hange for Change Coin Drive’ – raising much-need funds for this worthy non-profit group.

As we write this, organisers still are tallying the total amount raised over the weekend, but early indications are that the event was a rousing success. We cannot think of a group more deserving of community support.

In two decades, Meals on Wheels has grown from a small group of committed individuals to an islandwide presence feeding more than 230 seniors and other vulnerable adults who might otherwise go hungry. Organisers say that if they had the resources, there are dozens more people who they could serve.

Three-quarters of Meals on Wheels’ modest budget comes from donations, sponsorships and fundraisers such as the one held last weekend. Every $5 the non-profit collects provides a senior in need with a hot meal and soup delivered, rain or shine, five days a week, by volunteers whose efforts feed both body and soul.

More than food, Meals on Wheels offers connectedness and caring. For some elderly or homebound seniors, who may not have family around to support them, their daily meal delivery is a chance to chat and interact with another person. It offers a life-affirming respite from the isolation that is sadly too common in our older years.

Like many social issues, food insecurity and hunger is at once complex and very simple. In an ideal world, no one in our population would find themselves without regular access to healthy, nutritious food. It is troubling that the number of vulnerable elderly needing food assistance on our island has apparently been increasing over the past two decades.

At the same time, we can and must step in to address the need.

Consider that Cayman’s Meals on Wheels program began with the committed kindness of a single elderly widow. If Martha McField could find the effort and resources to feed and care for her neighbours, surely we can do the same.

Pooled together, even pocket change has the power to help eradicate hunger.

If you missed last weekend’s fund drive, or want to become more involved, it is not too late to chip in. Donors and potential volunteers can sign up online at www.mealsonwheels.ky, email [email protected] or call 769-1974 to find out how you can help.

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