Lower Colorado Region Employees Fight Hunger One Donation at a Time

Written by: Doug Hendrix

Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp, second from the left, with some of the food donated to help Emergency Aid of Boulder City.
Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp, second from the left, with some of the food donated to help Emergency Aid of Boulder City.
Whether it is monetary donations to the annual Combined Federal Campaign or providing support to community outreach events affiliated with local churches or schools, Reclamation employees in the Lower Colorado Region always go above and beyond the call of duty with their generosity. This year, federal employees again demonstrated their grace and good will in helping those less fortunate by participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture-sponsored (USDA) Feds Feed Families hunger campaign.

The campaign, which kicked off locally at the Lower Colorado Regional Office and at the Phoenix and South California Area Offices and Davis Dam on July 27 and concluded on October 12, challenged federal employees region-wide to collect and donate non-perishable food and household items for use by families who are struggling financially or are presently food insecure.

“This campaign helps food pantries stay stocked during summer months when they traditionally see a decrease in donations and an increase in a family’s food consumption needs,” said Terry Fulp, Ph.D., Regional Director of the Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region. “As federal workers, we are honored to be able to assist people in need. On a daily basis we see the struggles occurring in the communities we serve, and we believe it's important to do all we can to help.”

Nationally, the 2018 Feds Feed Families food drive kicked off around the country on July 15 with the Agriculture Department challenging all federal agencies collectively to beat the 2015 record of donating almost 18 million pounds of food over its three months duration. Last year, the Interior Department employees alone contributed more than 52,000 pounds of food and household items to local foodbanks nationwide participating in the annual hunger campaign!

Employees participating in this year’s 2018 campaign at the Lower Colorado Regional Office and Hoover Dam in Boulder City, Nevada, collected more than 7850 pounds of non-perishable goods and household items for donation to the Emergency Aid of Boulder City (EABC) food bank.

Similarly, Reclamation’s food drive efforts at the Phoenix Area Office resulted in a collection of 1712 pounds of food and household items for donation to the Saint Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, Arizona, 101 pounds from the Southern California Area Office food drive for donation to the Temecula Food Pantry, and 755 pounds from the Yuma Area Office campaign for donation to the Yuma Community Food Bank. Additionally, 286 pounds was collected during the campaign at Davis Dam for donation to the Caring Hearts Food Bank in Fort Mohave, Arizona.

Addressing Hunger in the United States

Though many of us may not realize the grave disparities that exist in our own communities, people struggle with hunger in every county and congressional district in the United States. They could be our neighbors, kids in our children's classes – the possibilities go on.

Results from the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Report on Hunger and Homelessness (A Status Report on Homelessness and Hunger in America’s Cities, December 2016) noted that annually, in the United States, 1 in 8 people struggle with hunger at some point each year. Forty-one percent of survey cities reported that the number of requests for emergency food assistance increased over the past year. Of the requests for emergency food assistance, 63 percent were persons in families, 51 percent were employed, 18 percent were elderly, and 8 percent were homeless.

Nationally, 1 in 6 children may not know where they will get their next meal, with 12.9 million children living in food-insecure households. Children who are hungry or poorly nourished are less able to focus on learning. Moreover, study after study indicates that children who are food insecure are more likely to have higher risks of health and developmental problems than children in otherwise similar food-secure households.

Poverty and unemployment are frequently predictors of food insecurity in the United States. A survey commissioned by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) in 2017 found that one in four Americans worries about having enough money to put food on the table in the next year. Food insecurity is also associated with chronic health problems in adults including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and mental health issues including major depression.

Local charitable programs are unable to fully support those struggling with hunger nationwide. Consequently, the combination of charity, local food drives and government assistance programs are vitally necessary to help local communities bridge the meal gap.

Published on October 25, 2018