Island residents display generosity in hard times
The annual mail carriers food drive collected a record amount of donations this year.
When the federal government reported this week that consumer prices in April went up a tenth of a percentage point less than anticipated, there wasn't a sigh of relief in households across Hawaii because people have felt the pocketbook pinch of the 0.2 percent increase regardless of predictions.
They continue to feel the sting at the gasoline pump, at the grocery store, when they write a check for the electricity bill.
Yet, when asked to contribute canned goods, pasta and beans for a food drive last weekend, island people responded generously, even more than in better times.
A record of over 576,500 pounds of provisions were collected during the National Association of Letter Carrier's "Stamp Out Hunger" campaign Saturday, about 260,500 pounds more than in 2007.
Food drive officials attribute the increase to identifiable plastic bags left in mailboxes and distributed to school children, but surely the convenience of simply placing cans of tuna, corned beef and boxes of macaroni and cheese just steps from the front door encourages giving.
There's another element at work. Though many Hawaii residents are themselves struggling to keep up with the cost of living, they recognize that there are others who haven't been able to do the same and that their fortunes could easily turn, just as they have for workers who have lost their jobs in recent months.
While they cannot individually feed all those in need, collectively, one bag of rice at a time, they can ease the hunger of those who have less.
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