Food for thought

First Posted: 9/17/2013

On Saturday morning, a couple of dozen people took a 3.1-mile walk in Pembroke with the idea of putting their foot down so that their neighbors don’t go hungry, especially during the holidays that are coming soon.

A similar effort will be held this Saturday in Lumberton, and today’s Our View is written in the hope that it will inspire a larger turnout.

Organizers of the Robeson County Church and Community Center’s Walk for Hunger 5K were pleased with Saturday’s turnout, saying it was only the first of what they would like to make an annual event. The food that was collected, about 800 pounds, was shared with the Robeson County Church and Community Center’s food pantry, Sacred Pathways in Pembroke and the Office of Community and Civic Engagement at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, all of which will make sure it gets into the hands and then the stomachs of needy people.

We believe Robeson County, which might be the poorest in the state in terms of wealth but the richest when it comes to a willingness to help each other, can do much better this Saturday.

Last Saturday was a perfect day for a walk, and the forecast for this Saturday certainly doesn’t provide an excuse. Sunny skies are expected and it should be a crispy 70 or so degrees when the walk is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. at the Crystal Drive entrance at Luther Britt Park.

All that is needed to participate in the walk is a grocery bag that is filled with non-perishable food, such as rice, pasta and canned fruits and canned vegetables. The food will go to the community center and the soup kitchens at My Refuge in Lumberton and the Lumberton Christian Care Center.

Officials at the Robeson County Church and Community Center say the need is great. Through August, the center had already distributed 80,000 pounds of food this year, a much quicker pace than during 2012. The area’s chronic poverty and high unemployment are driving the demand.

We know that there is frustration among many with this country’s trend toward redistribution of wealth, but this is not a government-inspired event. The government certainly has the largest role in making sure that this nation’s poor have living conditions that are consistent with life in this great country, but efforts to help the least among us are always best when they are inspired by compassion and not coercion.

Saturday is just another opportunity to enlist in an effort to help the needy. Bag some groceries, join the walk, and get a bit of exercise.