Our View: Share hope during the holidays

The costumes are ready, the pumpkins are carved and the candy is ready to go. Halloween  is here. Everyone loves free candy and we, the Index Editorial Board, are no exception. But the delightfully spooky end of October also can mean something more.

No, not just the beginning of November, but also the onset of the holiday season.

As the weather quickly begins to cool, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations start filling the stores. Advertisements for Thanksgiving dishes and Christmas presents are quick to follow.

There’s no doubt the holiday season is a great time of year, full of food, family and festivity. But not everyone has that privilege.

Every year, during the holiday season, food insecurity becomes a buzzword — but what does that phrase mean? Food insecurity is “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food,” according to the USDA Economic Research Service.

In the United States, 14 percent of households were reported as being “food insecure” during 2014, with 5.6 percent reporting very low food security — their normal eating patterns were severely disrupted and food intake was reduced during the year because of a lack of money or other resources to obtain food, according to the same website. While 14 percent might not seem like a huge number, that percentage translates to 17.4 million households, with 6.9 million reporting very low food security.

We, the Editorial Board, believe food is not a privilege, but a necessity. As such, we encourage you to donate to your local food bank. Donations do not have to take the form of money or nonperishable food, but also can be in the form of volunteering time or helping arrange food collection drives.

In Adair County alone, about 5,000 residents are considered food insecure and 1,500 of them are children, according to a Nov. 7, 2013 Index article. This directly affects the Kirksville community, because many Kirksville residents are dependent on food banks to feed themselves and their families.

Although there have been concentrated efforts to provide food for residents in need, these efforts fall woefully short of meeting the food insecurity needs of Adair County residents. During 2012, Adair County received just one-third of its necessary food — 430,000 pounds out of 1.2 million — to meet citizens’ food insecurity needs, according to the same article.

This does not mean Truman State students and members of the Kirksville community should give up. There are many ways to make a difference in someone’s life. Hope’s Kitchen, for example, offers hot, fully prepared meals to anyone in the Kirksville area and serves about 400 meals a month with the help of community volunteers, according to its website. Volunteers like you.

We, the Editorial Board, encourage you to find ways to help out this holiday season. Pay a visit to the SERVE Center in the basement of the Student Union Building to sign up for service events, or log onto the TruService website to see what events are coming up. For example, the SERVE Center is hosting Trick-or-Treating for Canned Goods Oct. 30, according to the TruService website. Volunteers will be going door-to-door on certain streets asking for food and monetary donations, according to the TruService website.

If that doesn’t appeal to you, see when you can volunteer at Hope’s Kitchen to provide meals or go online to see when local food banks are hosting food drives and sign up to help. There are many options for you to get involved with service, especially as the holiday season begins.

We, the Editorial Board, hope you will take an interest in volunteering this year. The holiday season is a time for giving thanks. Make it a time to give hope as well.