Helping Check Out Hunger
Wednesday - November 30, 2005
From left: Gerald Shintaku, Kraft Foods Hawaii
business manager; Dick Grimm, Hawaii Foodbank
president; Roger Godfrey, Times Super Market
president, and Sweetie Pacarro, Kraft Foods
Hawaii spokeswoman with a for the Hawaii
Foodbank as part of Kraft’s Check Out Hunger
I was in Safeway the Monday before Thanksgiving just stressing out. I had my 2-year-old son running through the aisles looking for lollipops: “Yes, we do need them, Mommy, we really do,” and my infant son in the shopping cart. Trying to stop Finn eating everything in sight, and to control Max while searching the store for cinnamon sticks, I found myself wondering if all of this stress was really worth it for one dinner. And then I stopped. I looked at my healthy sons, who I hope will never know what it’s like to feel hungry, and looked at my shopping cart overflowing with items for dinner and the weekend ahead, and I felt an emotion that was neither panic nor stress. It was shame.
There are hundreds of families who don’t have enough to eat in Hawaii. Thousands of people who’d love to be having their friends and family over for dinner, but they can’t, because they live in tents or on the street. There are children who attend our church who, for a time, lived with their family in a car. I can still hardly bear to think of them, but neither can I stop.
It can be overwhelming to think of the poor and the needy, even more so when we’re running around like headless chickens trying to get everything done in time for the holidays.
And it’s easy to think that you can’t do anything to help. Or to justify why you won’t. The problem always seems way bigger than we are. But that’s really not true. Last year, Kraft’s Check Out Hunger Campaign donated more than $72,000 to the Foodbank of Hawaii. The Foodbank is the only non-profit organization in Hawaii that collects, warehouses and distributes food. If you think there’s no one going hungry in Hawaii then get this. Last year the foodbank distributed more than 9 million pounds of food in Hawaii. And the Check Out Hunger campaign made a significant difference. Kraft has green labels at checkouts in Tamura’s, Safeway, Times and Kokua Market. The idea is simple. Tear off a coupon and have it scanned along with your groceries. The amount will be added to your bill and then donated: $2.74 feeds a family of four for a day. $19.17 a family of four for a week. Adding $2.74 to your own grocery bill each time you shop between now and December might not seem like a big deal. But if you think of your small donation as part of the bigger picture - you’re doing something to make sure that no one goes hungry this holiday season. The bright green coupons are easy to find - and hopefully not so easy to ignore. Every time you feel like turning the other way, think about the difference you can make.
As I left the checkout to run after my son, I found myself counting not the rest of the errands I had ahead of me, or how many words I had to write before the day’s end. I was counting something else entirely.
We had 16 people sit down to dinner at our home on Thanksgiving. None of them hungry, all of them healthy and fortunate. I spent the whole day counting my blessings.
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