The New York Times reports that food pantries nationwide are swamped with new faces, people who have recently lost jobs and don't have a good system yet for keeping the cupboards and bellies full.
Read the article and consider what you would do if suddenly unemployed. How long would your savings hold out? Storing food you eat anyway, in quantities enough to last you two weeks to a month, is another way to protect yourself against economic trouble.
Our own Fruitvale Presbyterian Church gives away free food as part of the Community Outreach Pantry Emergency (COPE). Second and fourth Saturdays each month, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.
On the last Thursday of the month, another local church (pardon me about the name, I'll update when I get out there and check) gives away free food from a storefront on 38th Avenue, just in from MacArthur Boulevard.
My child's school is running a "Pennies for Peace" fundraiser to benefit children in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We contributed already but had found more pennies. I am thinking of giving those, the daily change jar, plus the freshly-laundered dollar bills my children leave in their pockets, to either Fruitvale Presbyterian or the Alameda County Food Bank. It's very nice to send pennies to Afghanistan but our neighbors' children are hungry, too.
And remember, what goes around, comes around. Give now if you can spare it. You never know when the empty belly might be your own.