As I write this, there are people in our community who are worrying about where, or if, they are going to get their next meal.

There are children sitting in class pleased that the three-day weekend is over because the only place they get a good hearty meal is at school.

There are parents lying awake at night with hunger pangs because they chose to give the remaining amount of food to their children so they would not go hungry.

The act of just writing these sentences weighs heavily on me because I have been so blessed to have never needed to worry about if or when I would eat again.

I believe that no one in our great state and country should have to worry about going hungry. The fact that 1 in 3 people in the United States is obese, but there are people who cannot get enough to eat, baffles me beyond belief.

If you did not know, Oregon is the hungriest state in the nation.

Approximately 13.6 percent of households in Oregon (nearly 500,000 people) are insecure about where their next meal will come from.

These people lack access to consistent amounts of nutritious food. About 5.9 percent (nearly 200,000 people) face very low food security or hunger.

That means these Oregonians ate less, skipped meals or went for a day or days without food.

I am amazed that my home state that I love has these problems and that so many people do not know how severe this problem has become.

What can we do to help?

If you read The Outlook on Tuesday, I hope you noticed a paper bag in the layers of the paper. This paper bag signifies the annual Riverview Community Bank Fill A Bag food drive — now in its third year — benefiting SnowCap Community Charities.

If you are not acquainted with SnowCap, it’s the only food bank located in east Multnomah County, and it has been serving our neighbors who are struggling for more than 40 years.

I would like to be able to write that the necessity for food has diminished since Fill A Bag started in 2010, but the facts are the need has amplified. Our neighbors need our assistance.

Please, if you have the means, fill a bag with food and bring it to one of these local companies: Riverview Community Bank (Gresham or Wood Village branches), Gresham Outlook, Gresham Ford, Drake’s 7 Dees, Twelve Mile Market, Advanced Care Chiropractic, Town Fair Chiropractic, Troutdale General Store, Classique Floors and many more.

Also attached to the bag is a letter with an envelope: If you desire you can just mail a check. At this time, SnowCap can purchase 20 pounds of food for $1, so a check for $20 goes a long way to aiding a family.

Thank you for your generosity.

Casey E. Ryan is vice president/branch manager of the Gresham and Wood Village branches of Riverview Community Bank.

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