“I am the face of hunger.” These were the opening words by Keynote Speaker Jamie Bennett at the United Way Campaign Kick-Off breakfast where she shared how as a child, after her father passed away, she knew times were getting harder for her mother and their family. There was no milk with dinner, after-school snacks were not there every day and her lunch was getting smaller as the weeks progressed.
She recounts the story of how one night the table was set as if for any other weeknight dinner but the only thing on the table was a pot of white beans. “With worry in my mother’s voice she asked the children to sit, saying there was enough for two scoops for each of us.” As the older children left the table, Jamie recalls, “My brother and I remained telling her “We aren’t hungry.” as if we were ashamed to have for dinner the only food we had.”
You can watch Jamie tell her touching story “I Am the Face of Hunger.” online at www.youtube/_OkrVXKKAQs
Roll forward to the Fall of 2013… It’s that time of year when so many are spreading cheer while many of our neighbors have none – no grand tree, no presents underneath, no holiday dinner on the table, no dinner on the table at all.
Hundreds of people in our community face hunger every day. While most of us ask “What’s for dinner tonight?” we have children in our own neighborhoods asking “Is there dinner tonight?”
On the second annual #GivingTuesday, this year on December 3rd, United Way of Deschutes County is asking you to help fight hunger in our community.
#GivingTuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday giving season on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support non-profit organizations. In the same way that retail stores take part in Black Friday, United Way is encouraging the giving community to come together for #GivingTuesday.
There are a myriad of ways you, your family or your business can help others this #GivingTuesday and fight hunger in our community: donate food, start a food drive at your place of business, volunteer at the food bank, help prepare hot nutritious meals for the homeless or housebound, conduct a workplace giving campaign, or give online. We invite you to be a part of the celebration of giving! Don’t forget to Tweet, post comments or “UNselfies” on Facebook, and talk about it using the hashtag #GivingTuesday and @liveunitedco.
In support of #GivingTuesday, all donations made on the United Way of Deschutes County website on Tuesday, December 3rd will go to help support Basic Needs through our food related partner programs.
If you or a family you know is struggling with hunger please call 2-1-1 for information on how to obtain emergency food boxes in Central Oregon. www.liveunitedco.org.
# GIVINGTUESDAYOn December 3 thousands of Oregonians will be asking themselves: “How can I make a difference.” That date marks #GivingTuesday – a national day of giving added to the calendar on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s a day for you, your family, your community or your organization to come together and give back in some way. Then share with everyone how you are giving.
At 211info, we’re big fans of #GivingTuesday because every year we make almost 400,000 connections with people who need help. In order to raise awareness for the needs of our clients and the great services our partners provide every day, we put together a list of the top five most-requested needs of 211info’s low-income callers from all across Oregon.
Top 6 Needs
1. Putting food on the table – Between calls for SNAP (food stamps) and for access to local pantries, food insecurity is our highest need.
2. Paying the electric bill – Especially as the cold months roll in, finding assistance to keep the lights and heat on for one’s family quickly becomes a top priority.
3. Affording rent or a rental deposit – Since the recession, more and more people who were just getting by are having a hard time keeping up on the rent or scratching together funds to move into an apartment.
4. Finding shelter and transitional housing – For those who have fallen into homelessness and are trying to rebuild their lives.
5. Gaining access to low-cost health and dental care – Health Care reform has been in the news a lot lately and every day we hear from people like the gentleman in the aforementioned story who need urgent care, but can’t afford it.
6. Locating holiday programs – Six is an odd number, but with the holiday season here many parents are trying to figure out how they can provide a decent meal for their kids and maybe a gift, as well.
How the public can help
#GivingTuesday is all about giving back and doing what you can to lend a hand, even if it’s in a small way. If you’re looking for a local nonprofit who provides some of the services mentioned above, we have a database you can search.
Here’s how to use it:
1. Visit us online at www.211info.org/community-resource-database.
2. Enter your zip code.
3. Select the ‘keyword search’ option.
4. Pick one of the keywords from the list or enter a term like “food” to find local organizations.
211info is also a 501c3 nonprofit organization, so if you’d like to make a donation to our services know that your dollar will go directly to providing guidance to people who are in need of help, but aren’t sure where to turn.Whatever you decide to do, we hope that giving to those in need kicks off your holiday season with some cheer. And remember, if you or someone you know need help, you can always dial 211 for free, visit our website www.211info.org or text your zip code to 898211.