It’s the time of the year to help the hungry

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 12, 2005

This week we step away from discussions of hurricanes, life jackets, Coast Guard history and boating related recalls to focus on an issue that every American should be concerned about – hunger in our own country. I also will focus on a small step everyone with a computer can do to fight this national challenge, with a simple click of your mouse.

The number of starving people in this country is a figure that will startle each and every one of you.

According to, &uot;The number of hungry people in the United States is greater now than it was when international leaders set hunger-cutting goals at the 1996 World Food Summit. The pledges by United States government leaders to cut the number of Americans living in hunger – from 30.4 million to 15.2million by 2010 – are lagging behind.&uot; According to the latest estimates from the National Census Bureau there are approximately 290,000,000 people in the United States. Do the math!

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What can you do to fight hunger? Some obvious recommendations include contributing to a local Suffolk Food Bank or helping one of the many community groups involved in food drives or preparing nutritious meals for those without.

You can also use your computer. Since 1997 the Campbell’s Soup Company, one of the most recognized companies in the United States has teamed with the National Football League (NFL) in the highly successful – Click for Cans program. This effort is just one part of Campbell’s Chunky soup’s

&uot;Tackling Hunger(tm) campaign.

To date, the Campbell’s Web site notes that the company &uot;has donated more than 32 million cans of soup to a variety of hunger relief charities across the country, in NFL cities, and in the 30,000 markets served by Campbell’s many retail partners.&uot;

That is a phenomenal effort and highlights good corporate citizenship at its finest. Believe it or not this year effort is even bigger than in year’s past.

This year not one but the two NFL teams who earn the most number of votes will earn donations of Campbell’s soup to the food banks of their choice. How much soup? For the team with the most clicks, Campbell’s get the published personal statistics for all the players on the team’s official roster and then donates the team’s total weight in cans! The beefier your lineman are, and the bigger your bruising fullback for those third-and-one plays are, the more cans are donated.

So how do you get involved?

First off go to the Web site each day between now and midnight on the 30th of November. Go to the Click For Cans section and click on your favorite NFL team. You can do this every day until midnight on the 30th of November.

The team with the most clicks and (this year!!) the team with the most improved clicks from last year will earn donations of Campbell’s soup. The Green Bay Packers have won the last few years.

So boaters here is your chance to help fight hunger. The more times you participate, the more votes your team will have! It is that simple. There is even a link within the web site to send information on this program to fellow boaters, friends, and family members who want to get involved in fighting hunger. Everyone in America owes to our fellow citizens to help fight hunger any way we can.

Until next week…Boat Safe, Boat Smart, and think about ways you can help fight hunger in America!

Joe DiRenzo III is a retired Coast Guard Officer and current Coast Guard civilian employee. A former Cutter Commanding Officer, he is a nationally known writer of port and maritime security issues. He has written the safe boating column for the News-Herald for just under five years.