Deposit in food bank helps out

Written by Observer editorial October 18, 2013 08:00 am

Not all of us can be a top philanthropist like J. Paul Getty, Andrew Carnegie, Eli Lilly, Andrew W. Mellon and John D. Rockefeller.

But we can be generous to more than just family and friends as the holiday season looms on the horizon.

One way is by making a deposit in the Community Connection Food Bank. Nonperishable goods and personal care products can be dropped off at its location at 1804 Albany St. Every donation, no matter how small, helps in a big way to meet the needs of the community.

Another way is by giving to the annual Union County CAN Food Drive, hosted by Community Action Network Nov. 2. Volunteers will be at Walmart, Grocery Outlet and Safeway from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to collect donations. The CAN Food Drive collects more than just food items like canned fruits and vegetables, boxed pasta and rice. It also collects personal care products such as infant formula, diapers, toilet paper, soap and detergent.

A third way is by contributing to the Boy Scouts’ door-to-door Scouting for Food effort, also on Nov. 2.

While many parts of the country are in economic recovery, the Great Recession has not eased its grip on Northeast Oregon. More families than ever need food and other personal products to make ends meet.

For the past two years, Community Connection has been running short on food. The agency distributes food to 18 agencies in Union, Wallowa, Baker and Grant counties. One reason is contributions from the Oregon Food Bank have declined since stimulus funding dried up.

In hard times like these, the goodness of neighbors is important to fill the void. It’s all about caring and sharing. Investing in the community. Feeling compassion for and protecting the less fortunate.

Capitalism is well known for its boom and bust cycles. Minimum wage jobs are plentiful. Family wage jobs are scarce. Sure, sometimes the bust is hidden. But it is there, lurking below the surface of daily life. Anxiety grows. Until the economy improves, until everyone gets economic empowerment and doesn’t face a minimum-wage future, or joblessness, we need to protect the less fortunate and the social ills that go with hunger and poverty.

Oregon is a generous state, but it can do better. How does the state stack up in generosity? According to a recent survey, Oregon ranks 20th. We’re in the top half nationally in both volunteerism, at 34 percent, and average charitable contributions as a percentage of discretionary income, at 4.6 percent.

Those with more should give more. Yet surveys show Oregonians under the $30,000 annual income level generally give most to charity. Maybe they are better able to recognize need and feel a direct link of
compassion.

We can help make our part of the world a better place. Show some gratefulness for your blessings — give a gift to those less fortunate this holiday season.

Your investment will pay dividends.