With Thanksgiving comes images of heaping piles of food, but one in eight Wyomingites struggle with hunger and uncertainty about the source of their next meal. The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies counts more than 20,000 children and 14 percent of seniors in the state as being affected by hunger and poverty.
Shanna Harris, who directs the food bank, said when families are struggling to cover multiple expenses, food is often the first item to take a cut.
“And there’s also the added pressure of winter starting to come on,” said Harris. “People have to start struggling and determining; Am I buying groceries, am I going to pay utilities, am I going to pay rent? And winter is a tough time for everybody here in Wyoming.”
In rural areas, traveling to pick up food donations is also an expense. That’s why Harris said supporting the network of more than 100 food pantries in Wyoming is key. The statewide food bank distributes the equivalent of 22,000 meals a day through that network.
“Wyoming people can help by working at a local food pantry, volunteering so they are able to stay open more,” said Harris. “And of course we take donations. We can do a whole lot with a dollar. We can provide 4 meals with one dollar.”
Information about food pantries in your area is available by calling 211.