Sen. Moran joins Operation Food Secure for food distribution in Oakland
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Throughout the pandemic, hunger has remained an issue facing many Kansans from Topeka to Manhattan.
“So often it’s like, ‘oh my gosh I’m so happy to have this food’ and it’s something that we don’t know how to fix and usually we have other people we give it to,” said Christine Blau, a Manhattan resident who received food at a distribution Tuesday.
The Topeka Rescue Mission’s program, Operation Food Secure, launched as a result of hunger caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program’s director, Marissa Dake, said hunger cannot be ignored.
“Operation food secure is really committed to making sure our neighbors know that they’re not going to be hungry and that they can find some hope in their community,” she said.
“What’s unique about this season with the pandemic is that we still don’t have an end in sight, we’re looking at the economic forecast for next year and a vaccine months away businesses locally are closing back down places are locking back down.”
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) joined the organization’s Tuesday food distribution at Oakland’s United Methodist Church.
He said numbers of those at the site show the reality of the pandemic.
“There are a lot of needs in Kansas and I’m learning that even as we speak today that the significant need for food may be at an all-time high for people who can’t otherwise provide for themselves or their families,” he said.
“People who used to volunteer to help others now they themselves and it is the reality that the challenges in our economy when you don’t have a job food is a pretty difficult thing to attain.”
The food from the distribution comes from the USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program, which puts food grown by farmers on the tables of families in need.
Moran said he was pleased to know the efforts to combat hunger serve many groups.
”We are producers in our state we are an ag state and we want to make sure in this case when farmers are hurting they’ve gotta market for their products as well so we’re helping farmers today and we’re helping those who need to eat what farmers produce.”
He said he is confident another stimulus package can be passed by the end of the year to help those in need.
“It’s important to do something even if we can’t do everything,” he said.
“I’m for a smaller bill, more targeted bill, and I think there’s a stronger belief to do the things we’re able to do.”
He said he is encouraged to see people work together to fight hunger.
“Even in Kansas, the breadbasket of the world really, we have significant challenges in our own communities and so while it’s disappointing that there’s so many people in need it’s encouraging to see many people stepping forward to make a difference.”
Dake said she hopes food recipients know they are being supported.
“I think what makes Operation Food Secure is that it brings food security down to that local and neighborhood level and is allowing for new neighbors to be built among neighbors,” she said.
“This just allows for stabilization in the community allows for people to have hope that they know where their food is coming from and a little bit of hope at this point a little bit of holiday cheer to help them feel like they can get through.”
More information about how to get help for Operation Food Secure can be found here.
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