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Baylor steps up to ease food insecurity

April 1, 2013 at 10 p.m.


Because people don't typically die of starvation in the United States it is sometimes assumed that our nation doesn't really have a serious hunger problem.

How you define "serious" may be similar to that old joke about having a "minor" operation. The operation is minor only if you are not the one going under the knife.

So if you never have to worry about where your next meal is coming from then hunger is something that mostly happens in other countries, right?

Wrong.

It happens right here in Texas and in our area and it probably happens much more than you think.

The term "food insecurity" is used to define people who don't know where their next meal is coming from, and we don't mean whether it will come from the steakhouse or the burger chain. Literally, that means that they have no food and don't know how they will possibly get any.

When you are in that situation, your attention is mostly focused on that question, too, even more than where you will sleep at night. Hunger is the more biting problem.

Many of those who go hungry fall at the age margins of our society, the very young and the very old. This also means they have the least ability to correct their situation.

Unfortunately, of the states, Texas has a bigger problem with this issue than most. Across the nation about 15 percent of households do not have reliable access to three meals per day. In Texas, that number jumps to 18.5 percent.

That almost 20 percent of our fellow Texans face food insecurity is made even more tragic by one simple fact: There is plenty of food. No one needs to go hungry at all.

And maybe in the future the percentage in Texas will drop markedly.

Baylor University, which is responsible for many good work in our state, is expanding its program, The Texas Hunger Initiative, to 12 regional offices in the state. The nearest office to Marshall will be Tyler but don't think that means we've been left out of the net.

The fact is that the goal of the initiative is to help identify people who qualify for food assistance and get them enrolled in programs that will ease their food insecurity. The Texas Hunger Initiative aims to do this by training groups of volunteers who will spread out to all corners of the state.

This is good news and we are not surprised that Baylor is behind it. We also would not be surprised if, somehow, our own East Texas Baptist University was involved in some of the volunteer efforts.

Anything we can do to ease hunger and food insecurity makes the world a better place and we should not hesitate to take action.

We commend Baylor for stepping up to do just that.

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