Editor, The Independent:
The member pantries of the Shiawassee Hunger Network and the Board of Directors of Shiawassee United Way wish to thank the community members and businesses who donated Shiawassee County Fair auction animals to the Shiawassee Hunger Network. There are not words to describe the appreciation felt by the local pantry volunteers who see weekly the devastation that hunger causes in the lives of so many who live in Shiawassee County.
A special thank you is in order for the Junior Livestock Association, the Small Animal Association, Shiawassee County Farm Bureau and the Shiawassee County Fair Board of Directors whose cooperation made all of this possible. We also wish to highlight and thank Shiawassee County 4-H and Future Farmer of America clubs for their food drive done during the Fair.
At present, 141 animals were donated by generous individuals and businesses. This resulted in $28,508.71 of earnings for local 4-H and FFA youth in Shiawassee County. In addition, the meat from these animals will be distributed throughout Shiawassee County to help people who cannot afford this necessity. Last year, Hunger Network pantries collectively distributed over 240,700 complete meals to families throughout the county. This was an increase of 20.4 percent over 2013!
The Shiawassee Hunger Network is an alliance of 11 independently-run pantries. This alliance ensures that the hungry are fed throughout Shiawassee County. A Rutgers University study found that 41 percent of the households in Shiawassee County do not have enough financial resources to pay for basic needs. The generosity of the individuals, businesses and groups who made these animal auctions and food donations possible are helping hard-working families to stretch limited resources to cover expenses such as rent, utilities, childcare, etc.
To help these hard working families further, Shiawassee United Way began a new initiative this summer to go directly to selected worksites to inform people of opportunities available to address barriers to their employment and their lives. The goal is to keep people at work while addressing stressors that can lessen productivity.
Thank you again to every animal and food drive donor. If hunger is a root cause of poverty that you would like to address, send a donation to: Shiawassee United Way, 123 S. Washington, Owosso, MI 48867, and indicate “Hunger Network” in the notes section of your check. Or, donate online, through a secure site, at shiawasseeunitedway.org.
Retta Parsons, CEO, Shiawassee United Way