For two weeks in March, my efforts were focused on raising money for the children's hunger program, known as Backpack. Every Friday, teachers provide children with a backpack of food to tide them over the weekend. You can read about the program here.
The buyers among you helped me deliver 50% of that sale price to the program. Some of you sent outright donations. I received many wonderful messages thanking me for making them aware of the immense need, and especially for calling it what it is: hungry children.
The total donation to the program is $2672.50. Thank you so much to everyone who wrote, called, purchased and donated. ($225.00 provides a backpack for one child for a school year.)
Questions have come up about why an effort like this is needed when the unemployment rate in Maine is so low.
I realize that this is a complicated issue. But whether it's due to opioid or other addictions, generational poverty, lack of work ethic, broken homes, single parents, unemployment or under employment - for me, the bottom line is that children are paying a price for circumstances beyond their control.
The future cost to our neighborhood schools, towns and the entire country of thousands of children who do not complete their education, often require intensive physical and mental health care, special education needs, and then sadly, sometimes even incarceration, is beyond measure. The most basic need of any child is to be fed. A safe and loving home is foremost, but unfortunately not a goal that seems unattainable.
So my answer to the question is that we address the place where it's possible to make a difference. And in this case, it's breakfast, lunch and dinner. Makes it simple. (And will save money in the long run).