I live in Maine. Our states marketing tag line is, “The way life should be.” And it is beautiful here. The light is golden this time of year and shimmers in a wide swathe on Glen Cove that catches my breath every day as I drive my son to school. The sky is a poignant,heart swelling deep blue that makes the changing leaves seem to float in mid-air even before they swirl down from the trees and carpet everyones yard in yellow and red and orange and brown. Here at the shop we are knitting scarves in our favorite yarns and planning sweaters and making lists of folks who will be receiving socks for Christmas.
So, we are enjoying the fall transition and hunkering down for the cold season. But while we’re breaking out the shawls and scarves, while we’re dreaming of pots of tea and sitting by the wood stove with our slippered feet on the hearth and luscious yarn on our needles, there are other households where people are going hungry. Right in our own back yard. Yup. Right here in the good old US of A, right here in “Maine, the way life should be” there are hungry people. Here are some heartbreaking numbers compiled by The Good Shepherd Food-Bank that show a stark reality for the folks here in Maine.
“Food insecurity rate: 14.7 percent of households, or approximately 200,000 people
Child food insecurity rate: 23 percent, or nearly 1 in every 4 children, are food insecure (61,020 children)
Since 2005 there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of Mainers facing hunger”
There’s more, but that’s enough to be going on with. While we are all used to the idea that there are starving children in faraway places, it is less comfortable to know that the little boy who sits next to your third grader has not had a proper meal in days. Folks think someone is taking care of it all; I mean there’s Snap and WIC and AFDC and other assistance, right? But in these days of dwindling resources, with more and more people in need and deeper and deeper funding cuts, assistance scarce. The local organizations who fill in the crack are strapped. This is a topic that enrages me and breaks my heart. I could go on and on about it and make this blog a long rant. And that would not help. A soapbox will not feed a hungry child. So here’s what I want to do…
As of today, Over The Rainbow Yarn will have a donation jar on the counter and a box in the entry. You can donate cash in any amount into the jar, and non-perishable food into the box and 100% of it will go to The Area Interfaith Outreach who administers our local food bank. I know times are hard all over. I know we all are making tougher choices than we were five years ago. You may even be one of the people who rely on the helping hands of your neighbors to feed your kids and make ends meet. But I promise you that if you are reading this, there are folks in your neck of the woods who are worse off than you. And everything you can manage will go directly to helping feed the hungry in Maine. And pardon me for saying so, but that’s the way life should be. Neighbor helping neighbor, taking care of our own.
And we won’t stop there. Every First Friday of every month from now until forever, Over The Rainbow Yarn will be donating 5% of our gross sales for the day directly to AIO. That means you can help even more by shopping on Friday. See, I have faith in your kindness, your generosity. If Knitters Without Borders can raise 1.1 million dollars (see Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s blog here for up to date KWB tallies) I’m sure the Knitters of Maine can work on feeding the hungry right here in our own back yard.