Thursday, July 31, 2008

Partnerships Fighting Hunger

The fight against hunger in America is a marriage between public resources and the private touch of charity. This arrangement - largely the result of imported English poor law that codified churches as the local hand of social services - was evident in the very first American soup kitchen, which was run by a New York charity using land and capital donated by the colonial state.

Today this public-private tradition continues, as nonprofits like Catholic Social Services and the Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley partner with the State of Texas to assist those impoverished by Hurricane Dolly.

According to the Brownsville Herald, these charities are filling the gap left over when the Food Stamps Program, our nation's first line of defense against hunger, refuses those who don't qualify for its strict measures of need. "We are trying to help all those people that fall into the cracks," said CSS Director Sister Norma Pimentel.

At the same time, the State is recruiting charities like the Food Bank to get the word out about its efforts to replace the benefits of those who lost food in the storm. Many victims of the hurricane may also be eligible for Expedited Food Stamps, which are available much more quickly than normal benefits, and can help Dolly's victims get back on their feet.

No comments: