To the editor:
November, best known for the Thanksgiving holiday, is a time to come together as a family, fellowship and to partake in a Thanksgiving meal. All across Ohio, and including Carroll County, this may be a difficult time to provide a family dinner.
Churches in Carroll County support and give both financial and food donations to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry in Carrollton along with other organizations such as hospice, the Salvation Army and the Urban Mission in Steubenville to name a few.
As a supply pastor at the Perrysville and Pleasant Hill United Methodist Churches, we had conducted a homeless and hunger mission to support part of the needs for the Urban Mission Thanksgiving meals. Congregation members gave from their heart to others in need, people they have never met face to face and more than likely may not have the opportunity.
Ohio's hunger problem has worsened during the past few years. According to information from the Columbus Dispatch from 2011, the state climbed to sixth in the nation in food insecurity, as one in six households struggled to get enough to eat. In only five other states, all in the southern part of the U.S., was hunger more persistent, according to an annual report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Many blame the state's troubles on persistent poverty, widespread unemployment and difficulty pulling out of the recession.
According to information in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in April 2012, most of us always know where our next meal is coming from. More than 2 million people in Ohio don't. That's according to a study released by Feeding America that indicates hunger is on the rise across the state.
The Urban Mission in Steubenville posted a comment Oct. 17 on the social media site Facebook, stating "Over 500 families came through our food distribution yesterday. Today looks like another busy day!"
In New Philadelphia in Tuscarawas County there is a homeless shelter. "The mission of the Friends of the Homeless of Tuscarawas County Inc. is to work toward ending homelessness in Tuscarawas County by providing safe, temporary shelter for individuals and families, and the opportunity for recovery from drug and alcohol abuse, in a faith based environment, while assisting them in their effort to attain stability and permanent housing," information obtained from their site.
Here in Carroll County, we have the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry. According to the Rev. Gordon Warner, there has not been any sign of an increase locally and roughly 300 households pass through monthly. Carroll County is not like Cuyahoga, Franklin, Jefferson or Tuscarawas counties, however the need is still here locally.
The National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is Saturday through Nov. 24, however it should be on everyone's mind year round and we should give a hand to others in need. Proverbs 22:9 (NIV) "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor."
Edward L. Hale