For most of us in Del Norte County, hunger is never more than a snack away from being vanquished. We live with the comfort of knowing that our next meal at most will be in just a few hours.

But that cannot be said for a good number of our neighbors. Many of them will go hungry tonight - and many of them, as children, are unable to do anything about it. Indeed, The Community Assistance Network's Standard Veneer Road food bank gave out 203 tons of food - roughly two grocery bags for every county resident in 2004.

The reasons for their hunger are complex and varied. Some are out of work. Some are waiting for government programs to kick in. Some simply earn too little money.

Those of us who do not have to worry about hunger can help our neighbors by donating food, dollars or time to a food bank. Locally, the Community Assistance Network is asking for such donations through June 5, which is National Hunger Awareness Day. CAN's food bank is at 355 Standard Vaneer Road in Crescent City or it can be contacted at 464-9190 to arrange a pickup.

Unfortunately, hunger will continue for many of our neighbors despite the help each of us provide during the next few days. Fighting hunger must involve a long-term commitment from all of us. We challenge businesses and institutions to run food collection days throughout the year, and for residents to allocate a portion of their grocery shopping to buying food that can be donated. Even if it's just one can of soup per shopping trip, that's one less hungry person for a the next few hours.

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