For the first time in its history, Pierce County has designated a Hunger Awareness Month to raise awareness and prompt community support.
Facilitated by the Tacoma-based Emergency Food Network, the proclamation — which lasts from now until May 31 — was prompted by the more than 1.3 million visits made to Pierce County food pantries, meal sites, and shelters each year, as well as the more than 60,000 county children who receive free or reduced school breakfast and lunch.
“May is the perfect time to bring attention to hunger as food pantries and meal sites are gearing up for one of the busiest times of the year,” Emergency Food Network executive director Helen McGovern-Pilant said in a statement.
McGovern-Pilant is of course referring to the impending summer break when students will no longer have access to the free school lunch program. During the school year, the free breakfast and lunch children receive at school may be the only food they receive all day, therefore families rely on food from pantries or meal sites to receive basic nutritional food.
“There are many ways to make a difference in the month of May,” said McGovern-Pilant. “We’ve made it easy for community members to join us in providing the increased food that will be needed when families in need make extra trips to the food pantry.”
The largest of Emergency Food Network’s May events is a Hunger Walk and 5K Run slated for May 20 at Fort Steilacoom Park. However, the network offers a plethora of other events for Pierce County residents to demonstrate their charity or lend a helping hand. Residents can leave non-perishable foods out during the annual Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, or volunteer at Emergency Food Network’s warehouse.
For a full list of Hunger Awareness Month events and opportunities, visit Emergency Food Network online.