Most of us never think about it. But there is hunger in our midst.
And it is insidious: It is often invisible; victims are reluctant to step forward out of shame over their situation. This has been particularly true during the recent recession and fragile economic recovery.
Schools have served as a vehicle for identifying families that are having trouble getting enough to eat. Schools have also been part of the solution — serving free or reduced-price meals to kids who come from families that qualify.
But when school's out for the summer, those kids can sometimes be forced to go without the best meal of their day. The Gallatin Valley Food Bank is to be commended for recognizing this problem and stepping in with a remedy.
The Food Bank serves lunches to kids on weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. at two different Bozeman locations — Centennial Park and the SOB Barn on the Montana State University campus. These are square meals that meet federal nutrition guidelines. And they fill a big gap left when the school lunch program is suspended over the summer months.
The Food Bank started providing this service six years ago. Last year, the program provided some 5,500 lunches. Averaging some 120 lunches a day so far this summer, Food Bank representatives say they are on track to top last summer's total.
The Food Bank has long helped fill a glaring need in our community — providing nutrition for cash-strapped families. But it is mostly a matter of receiving donations and storing food safely until clients come by to pick up what they need.
The summer lunch program is different in that it is a proactive effort to go out and find those in need and provide them with badly needed nutrition.
Despite our economic difficulties, there is no excuse for anyone to go hungry in our community. Support the Food Bank with donations of food and cash to make sure this problem is wiped out or at least minimized.