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Time to donate to help needy

We received reports about shortages of certain foodstuffs — milk, bread, eggs and other staples among them — at area grocery stores as the storm that began Thursday refused to release its icy grip on North Texas.

Hopefully, such situations will be short-lived — store managers were expecting to be resupplied as temperatures rise, roadways continue to improve and trucks can begin rolling on schedule once again.

Not being able to buy certain food items caught some shoppers by surprise, but most of us probably won’t miss a meal as a result of the storm and its aftermath.

Others, however, may not be so lucky.

For them, bare cupboard shelves are often a harsh daily reality, and we fear the bitter cold and icy roadways will not only compound the problem but could also create a dangerous situation for many area families.

Please remember area food banks when you return to the grocery store and buy a few extra items to donate.

The need is real. According to Feeding America, a national nonprofit, about 15.2 percent of Denton County residents are “food insecure.” While slightly less than the statewide average of about 18.4 percent food insecure, it still means about 100,000 residents often go without food for several meals, or even several days.

This storm arrived just as most agencies were regrouping from filling Thanksgiving needs and preparing for the Christmas holidays.

But, as Serve Denton Executive Director Joe Ader told us recently, hunger is such in Denton County that people need help filling their pantries with more than just holiday staples.

“They need peanut butter, cereal and canned fruit, too,” Ader said.

Tom Newell, the Denton Community Food Center chairman, said that when churches and other organizers of food drives call, he asks for help with such items. In recent months, the center has had a hard time getting good deals buying peanut butter, he said.

The center gives away about 229 tons of food each year, about 30 percent of which is donated, Newell told us.

The center often does better with contributions of money than food, since it has bulk purchasing power. But the center does its best to make all contributions last.

That job is probably going to be tougher now, thanks to the storm’s intensity and timing, and we encourage everyone to share what they have with those in need. If we all give a little, maybe no one will have to go hungry.

Don’t leave area food banks out in the cold — make a generous donation of food or money to one of Denton County’s many area charitable agencies today.