The holiday season is all about tradition.
And for many, tradition means sitting around the table with family and friends and the partaking of a bountiful feast.
But for too many in southern Iowa, the holidays are yet another season of trying to find enough to eat.
Unfortunately, the Food Bank of Southern Iowa, which distributes food to a number of organizations and agencies in the area, has been struggling to collect donations and cash.
Ottumwans and others in the area, however, are making a difference.
This week, members of the Ottumwa High School Interact Club collected and donated more than 11,000 food items to the Food Bank.
They are not alone. Courier readers have also stepped up by bringing in their donations to our office, which in turn goes directly to the Food Bank.
There are also other efforts under way in the area, including a program in which grocery shoppers can donate to the Food Bank to help fill its shelves.
The need for food during the holidays and the winter season is always great, and it’s clear southern Iowans understand the importance of making sure that no one should go hungry at this time of year.
However, let’s remember that hunger knows no season. After the holidays are over, we must continue to keep the shelves at the Food Bank stocked.
The food drives that are ongoing this holiday season should not be considered a quick solution to hunger and poverty is southeast Iowa, rather it’s a serious acknowledgment that more must be done to ensure all southern Iowans have enough food to eat.
These food drives, hopefully, are helping to shine a light on this growing need. And if we work together, southern Iowans can make sure our neighbors and friends won’t go hungry this holiday season or throughout the year. Now that’s a tradition worth keeping.