Hard choices

Published 6:15 pm Saturday, August 18, 2012

It’s a financial decision most of us prefer not to face: rent or food.
The reality is that one in five of our friends and neighbors in Beaufort County has to make that decision on a regular basis. They are living with food insecurity, according to Allison Wills, food-resource coordinator for Food Bank of the Albemarle.
“When I say they’re food insecure, it means either they don’t know where their next meal is coming from or they’re not sure they’re going to have money to buy their next meal,” Wills told the Washington City Council last week. “So, they have to make hard choices — hard choices about whether to pay the rent or to buy groceries for their children.”
One hope for those facing food insecurity is the Eagle’s Wings food pantry in Washington. Four times a month since 1989, Eagle’s Wings opens its doors for qualified clients to come and get food for their cupboards.
But that safety net has developed a hole.
In a little over 48 hours when Eagle’s Wings opens its doors Tuesday morning, some 110 families will arrive seeking food assistance. There will be little, if any, food for the taking. The shelves will be bare.
Cuts to federal food assistance, a reduction in the availability of food to purchase from the Albemarle Food Bank and an increase in the number of families seeking assistance have created a perfect storm of a crisis.
While Executive Director Sally Love and the board of Eagle’s Wings work on a long-term solution, they are turning to the community for help. They are asking residents for food donations that can be dropped off at Eagle’s Wings (932 W. Third St.) before 6 p.m. Monday. Monetary donations are also welcome.
For those who have an abundance of food at home, donating to Eagle’s Wings is an easy decision that will help those facing harder choices.