By KAREN VAUK
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas with our families, grateful for our blessings, it's important to remember that 1 in 6 children struggle to get enough to eat in Idaho. For those children, the holidays are not a time of bounty but a time of increased hunger. That's because the school lunches and breakfasts that help nourish them during the school week aren't served during school vacations.
For some hungry children, the Idaho Foodbank's Backpack Program helps fill the gap when school is out. This program sends 2,000 children home every weekend with backpacks filled with nutritious, child-friendly food.
It's heartbreaking to send a child home with just a backpack, knowing he or she still may not have enough to eat over the holiday. And it's even more heartbreaking to know that there are many, many more children we could serve if funding were available.
We at The Idaho Foodbank give thanks this holiday for the tremendous local support that helps us fill the need in Idaho. We also ask you to urge Idaho Reps. Walt Minnick and Mike Simpson to support the child nutrition bill that Congress will probably vote on before Christmas. This bill supports programs that nourish children both in and out of school, and will help us meet the need in the many communities we serve.
With 16.3 percent of children in Idaho at risk of hunger, food banks can't do it alone. Please join us in remembering the vulnerable children in our community this holiday. Contact your congressman and tell him you support the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act (S. 3307).
Karen Vauk is president and CEO of The Idaho Foodbank.