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Editorial: Extend stockpiling instinct to include others

The forecast calls for another blizzard. What do you do? Head to the grocery store, load up your cart, restock your cupboard and then relax ... content in knowing you can weather the storm. You won't go hungry no matter how long or hard the snow falls.

Why do we do this? We know the grocery store is close by. We know the roads will be plowed soon.

To paraphrase psychologist Lisa Brateman quoted in the November 2012 article "The Psychology of Stockpiling," this behavior gives us a sense of control in an uncontrollable situation.

It's a normal, documented phenomenon. Sometimes people purchase more milk, bread and eggs than they can use.

Now consider that 1 in 9 people has no way to stock that cupboard, even in the best of weather. About 7.75 percent of households with children lack the resources (money, SNAP, etc.) to buy enough food to feed all living under their roof. This is according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which tracks food insecurity data.

While this winter has been stressful for many in the Midwest, these families in particular face a hard time. There have been nine no-school days (so far) when these children couldn't count on free or reduced-cost breakfasts and lunches. That is 18 meals of going without or living with less. Meanwhile, the more well-to-do fill their refrigerators with plenty out of compulsion rather than necessity, understandable as that is.

The local food shelf is a true lifeline for many people, but especially this year. Here are some items you could pick up and drop off at the food shelf next time you make store run (pending blizzard or not):

• Fruits and vegetables

• Pasta and spaghetti sauce

• Cereals, hot and cold

• Peanut butter

• Boxed meals

• Canned meats and fish

• Oh yes, and those milk, bread and eggs or least money for the food shelf to buy them

Help our neighbors weather the storm we call life. Help stock the local food shelf this month.