Editorials

While teaching a child to fish, he might need some loaves

JoAnn Nadler smiles at a client as she helps select their food. Nadler and other volunteers at the Fairview Heights Area Food Pantry are likely moving into the basement of City Hall.
JoAnn Nadler smiles at a client as she helps select their food. Nadler and other volunteers at the Fairview Heights Area Food Pantry are likely moving into the basement of City Hall. dholtmann@bnd.com

Well-intentioned people talk about ending poverty or ending hunger or ending homelessness. They say it is possible to “end” those societal problems if only we supply the will and the money.

That’s an altruistic view. It doesn’t hurt to harbor the hope. Still, there is a certain percentage of people who will never be reached because of their mental illness or their pride or their stubborn independent streak.

But just because there may be no cure doesn’t mean there isn’t suffering that can be decreased. Too often that suffering hurts children.

One in seven people in the United States goes hungry. For children, that rate is one in five.

Sixty-two percent of teachers say they have students who come to school hungry. Hungry children are twice as likely to repeat a grade, fall behind and themselves wind up in poverty.

Fairview Heights leaders are looking at making a home for the Fairview Heights Area Food Pantry in the basement of City Hall. The pantry will be making its fourth move because it must vacate the old firehouse that has been its home.

About 140 families a month rely on the pantry, which is supported by the city’s churches. Those families often must decide between electricity and food, a decision with which their children must live.

Teaching a man to fish, getting at the root cause or putting a Band-Aid on the problem are all concerns. Still, isn’t the greater concern to end the cycle by making sure a hungry child doesn’t become an uneducated adult whose own children go hungry?

Maybe breaking the cycle begins with a Band-Aid, at least for some.

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