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    Posted August 18, 2010 by
    Albany, Oregon
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Did your family sit down to dinner?

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    Dumpster Diving for Food


    Tuesday, 8/17/2010 Albany, Oregon -

    Tonight, on the way back from Seattle to Eugene we stopped at the Santiam River Oregon State Rest Stop #9 at around 10:00 p.m.  The rest stop is located on southbound I-5 at milepost 240.9, approximately 8 miles north of Albany, Oregon.

    As I sat in the car waiting for my husband to return I watched a young man between his late teen years to early 20's rummaging through the garbage cans looking for 'stuff'.  He pulled out a couple of things, looked at them and shoved them in his pocket.  He then began looking through tossed bags for food. 

    This young man was barefoot, thin and wearing cut-off denim overalls with the straps hanging down. 

    What struck me was sadness in his having to dig through the garbage cans for food.  It is not unusual to see people digging through these same garbage cans for refundable cans and bottles as Oregon has a bottle deposit return.  A lot of people go through garbage cans looking for some extra money in the form of 'bottle deposit cash'.

    My husband returned to our car and I asked him to give the young man a bag of fruits, fiber bars and almonds that I had in the car in case we wanted some healthy road snacks on our trip.  My husband walked up to the young man and asked him if he would like some food.  This young man smiled broadly and eagerly accepted the bag with a wave at both of us as he scurried off to a group of people that may have been his family or traveling companions.

    Did we feel good about what we did…sure. 

    Did it remind us that this problem exists not just at this rest stop at 10:00 pm, but throughout our country…sure.

    Yes, there is a serious hunger problem in the U.S., one that does not appear to have a clear solution.  In spite of all of the Food Banks, churches, charities and food programs – people are going hungry each and every day.

    When you see someone digging through a garbage can for food, try not to look the other way or drive away thinking it is not your problem.  Hopefully, you will have a bag of food in your car that you are willing to share and help a fellow human being get through a night with something on their stomach.

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