Summer Where Art Thou?

Here we are another month into 2017 and somewhere I missed summer it seems. August. Eight of twelve months gone. We need to be more like our dogs – live in the moment. Don’t worry over the past or the future. One we cannot change and the other we only hope we can. Live as our best friends do; for today, live in the now.  Laugh, love and live for the moment.

 

It’s great if we can philosophize about this, but reality sets in and for some of us, we can only wonder and worry about where our next meal is coming from and how long is it from now? Especially for kids.

 

Something so simple, but so profound that it can change the course of history.  “An army marches on its stomach. To be effective, an army relies on good and plentiful food.” This is attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte.  Even he knew of the effects food has.

 

Here at the MatSu Food Bank, we understand. We do food. We have been doing food since 1984 and have not strayed from that goal of helping to feed people.  Food is one of the basics for people to survive and thrive along with clothing and shelter to allow you to be involved and a productive part of a community. There are of course things we need like air, sleep, but basic food and shelter are what most of us think about. If you do not have the basics, you cannot think of anything else until that is acquired. Then and only then can you think of other things such as education, jobs or any of the many things we all take for granted because we already have them.

 

I ask you to think of others who may be that one step away from being safe, secure and fed. We offer a hand up not a handout. The MatSu Food Bank works toward that goal of no one being hungry. If you think about it, if everyone had enough food our crime rate would probably drop significantly. Children could grow and thrive and who knows, it might be that child we feed today that grows up to be a great leader, doctor, lawyer or that scientist that solves a major world issue. It is one of many reasons we provide free Meals in the summer for children 18 and under through the Food4Kids program.

 

School Starts, (Sorry kids) and money gets tighter for families. We ask that you help us achieve that lofty goal that no one should go hungry by donating any amount you can help us with to feed folks in need, your neighbors. Keep in mind that what you eat, someone else would be grateful to have too. I encourage people to help by donating an ongoing sustaining amount, such as $20.00 a month. Not much and equals about four lattes. To help a neighbor struggling to get out of a bad situation we ask you for whatever you can give.

 

Please visit us at www.matsufoodbank.org for more information on how to donate, or volunteer and a list of suggested items we can always use.

 

I hope you are enjoying summer and thanks for reading.

 

Eddie Ezelle

Executive Director

MatSu Food Bank

United Way at Mat-Su Food Bank

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Last week, United Way of Mat-Su practicum students volunteered to prep meals for Mat-Su Food Bank’s Food 4 Kids program. This program works to feed hungry Mat-Su kids and during the summer packs meals to be distributed to their park sites and pantries. Our team helped to prepare a portion of their 4 day supply of 1000 meals – they distribute up to 250 daily!

 

United Way of Mat-Su is proud to work with such great local partners in addressing the basic needs of our Mat-Su neighbors. Through this and other key factors, we hope to help build a community where residents are self-sufficient and economically stable.

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To learn more about United Way of Mat-Su’s efforts related to financial stability, visit the Income page on our website.

 

United Way of Mat-Su also coordinates volunteer opportunities at many local organizations working to meet basic needs or providing other services. To learn more, contact Chelsea at (907) 745-5822 or give@unitedwaymatsu.org

Food 4 Kids Summer Program 2017

Trying to set up!

From the MatSu Food Bank:

 

The Food 4 Kids summer program of the MatSu Food Bank is off to a bang of a start! We’re serving free lunches to kids 18 and under.

 

The first week was cloudy, a little rainy and unseasonably cool, but we still served a surprising number of kids. Into the second and third week, the numbers have only increased. With sunny weather (even rain) the parks are being well used by all. We serve in these five locations Monday through Friday: Food Pantry of Wasilla, Newcomb Park, Carter Park, Wonderland Park and Iditapark.

 

A child cannot think about life lessons if they are hungry. All they can think about is where or when they are going to be able to eat next. The saying, ‘healthy bodies equal healthy minds,’ is true in more ways than we know (yes, I know it’s backward). One way we support healthy kids is through the Food 4 Kids program. And don’t forget the Country Legend’s 100.9 “Million Pennies” campaign to help the Food 4 Kids. For more information check out: MatSuFoodBank.org

 

At the same time, the MatSu Food Bank has been preparing for the increasing tide of people who are hurting due to things such as the lack of a budget for the State of Alaska (could be taxes and PFDs smaller), to layoffs and general fears of what will happen at the Federal level with health care and reductions in SNAP benefits (formerly Food Stamps). People are trying to budget for the unknown. That is difficult in the best of times.

 

We are seeing an increase almost daily of families that are having problems making ends meet while some are holding two jobs. This is early in the summer seasonal jobs, so it is not a good trend.

 

It is somehow odd that our society gives more to animal care before we give to our own neighbors who don’t have enough to eat.

 

Here in the MatSu Borough, we have people who want to cut what little funding we currently have by thinking they are saving millions for the local government. This is not always true. We are talking less than $500,000 that consists of State and Borough matching monies to cover as many as 35 agencies that apply for a small part of this money. Not all agencies qualify for any of this funding.

 

There are foundations that pick various areas of current concerns to fund, but ongoing donations must come from corporate sponsors, various organizations such as churches or civic organizations and especially from you, the individual.

 

We rely strongly on your monetary donations to keep our doors open to give out free food. It doesn’t always make sense to people, but we must collect, transport, store and distribute the food collected and that requires operating capital. The MatSu Food Bank helps smaller agencies too that may not be able to collect, transport, or store food which we do not charge fees to handle any of these food donations. The MatSu Food Bank absorbs these costs with your generous help.

 

With the harder times, we are trying to prepare for the swell of those in need and ask for your help. Please donate any amount you can, knowing it is helping multiple people who need “a hand up, not a handout.”

 

Contact us at: 907-357-3769

Visit the MatSu Food Bank at: 501 E Bogard Wasilla, AK 99654

See our site at MatSuFoodBank.org to donate and check out the volunteer information while you’re there.

 

You can make a one-time donation or a sustaining ongoing monthly contribution in an amount you feel is comfortable for your budget. Every dollar helps.

Won’t you please help? Vote for your community by spending and supporting locally.

 

Thank you for supporting your local community.

 

Eddie Ezelle

Executive Director

Newcomb Park