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Painful Hunger Questions

Last week was Hunger Week in Orange County. We printed a story about that and the fact that the County Board of Supervisors and officials of 15 cities declared Hunger Week to draw attention to the growing problem. We even ran a list of schools, churches, companies and stores accepting canned and dried foods for distribution to hungry residents.

One thing that bothered us about the story was that leaders in only 15 cities joined the county supervisors in making the declaration. Why not leaders in all of the county’s 27 cities?

That thought also occurred to one of our readers, Linda Schulein of Newport Beach, who wrote to ask why all schools, churches, synagogues, colleges and city halls weren’t accepting food donations. The list was, indeed, too short. It underscores a major problem in dealing with hunger in affluent Orange County: It is difficult for many people living in such a wealthy community to realize that some of their neighbors do actually go hungry.

How many residents know that the estimates on the number of people at risk of going hungry at least once each month in Orange County range from 300,000 to 600,000? More important, how many really care--care enough to drop their indifference and do something about it?

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The count of hungry people is hard to pin down. But exact numbers are not important. No one in Orange County should have to go hungry. Unlike housing, hunger is a much easier problem to solve. Money, commitment and supplying available food can do it.

How many hungry people are there in Orange County? The sad and damning answer, the only answer that really matters in this county of plenty, is that there are a lot more hungry people here than the county has been helping.


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