From Mandy Caruso-Yahne, Director of Community Engagement at Episcopal Community Services and After the Harvest marketing committee: Many of us know that hunger is an issue for lots of Americans, but have you ever thought about who those hungry people are and what they look like? What their lives are like? It’s not just the guy standing with a sign in the intersection as you go to work or the child living in the government housing project.

Many families in the suburbs are having trouble making ends meet too. Military members and their families are reliant on food stamps. Parents trying to pay their student loans and medical bills rely on food pantries to feed their kids. Hunger is everywhere. Each September Feeding America (the national organization for food banks) and other agencies sponsor Hunger Action Month to help us take a moment to think more deeply about this issue and what we can do.

We’re fortunate in Kansas City to have a lot of great organizations working on hunger, including After the Harvest. In my work with Episcopal Community Services, we feed lunch to about 250 people each day, providing the freshest, most nutritious food possible that’s also delicious and free of charge to anyone who comes. We can afford to do that because when ATH volunteers glean potatoes or apples or whatever is in season–that produce comes to us free of charge.

Every time you glean, you’re getting food where it’s needed, and every time you post a photo on social media or tell your friends about what you did, you’re helping spread the message that hunger is real and something we can DO something about. THANK YOU!

This September, please consider more ways that you might take action – participate in a food drive, volunteer at Harvesters or with After the Harvest or in a community kitchen, or maybe host a letter writing campaign in your church or scout group. There are lots of actions that people of all ages can take. If each us does a little, it can add up to a big impact.