Editorial: Seeing the faces of hunger

Hunger has many faces here in Franklin County.

Some are quite obvious: the unmistakable look, for example, of a person who has truly been out on the streets with no money and little support.

But then there are the faces that don’t readily let on that having enough food is an issue.

Perhaps one belongs to an elderly person, someone who may be considered a shut-in. We can’t really see behind the house or apartment walls to see if the refrigerator is full or the cabinets are stocked — or what or how much they are eating a day.

An even harder face to read may that of a youth. After all, kids are the active ones, especially during the summer, where they seem to be always on the go. Yet research tells us that hunger — when you might eat next or how much — is as much an issue for youngsters as it is for adults.

Thankfully, there are people who are aware of all these faces. They realize that overcoming hunger in Franklin County or elsewhere in the United States isn’t only making sure that people who have food insecurities get something to eat. They also know that there are perceptions that hinder reaching those in need as well as making sure hunger isn’t an issue here.

One of those programs trying to help with young people in Greenfield during the summer is “Youth Eat for Free.” The USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, administered locally, provides kids, ages 18 and younger, with a place to stop and get lunch — or breakfast AND lunch — during the day at eight sites around the town. At these places, they will get meals that meet federal nutrition guidelines.

Now some adults may look at what’s served and turn up their noses, choosing to complain about too much sugar in the cereal or too much pizza or chicken tenders. Others may question whether this program helps create a dependency upon such government programs. While these are valid concerns, they ignore the most immediate and basic real-life need: getting children food who otherwise would be going hungry.

That’s what we’re facing as a community and as a nation. And we’re glad that there are programs that are trying to make sure people don’t go hungry.

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