Hunger    Hunger.  It is a feeling we are all familiar with.  For the majority of us it is a fleeting sensation that is quashed by a trip to the cupboard, refrigerator or store.  But what if you could not make that trip?  What if your cupboard and refrigerator is empty and a trip to the store is not an option?  Sadly 1 in 6 people in the United States hunger is a daily struggle.  That translates to 49 million Americans who are forced to go without food for several meals or even days because they cannot make ends meet.   Fact: Only 10% of the hungry are homeless and 36% of those that seek help have at least one working adult in their home.  Fact: More than 17 million children live in a food-insecure household.   Fact: While many children have access to school programs that help, much of the problem remains.  Fact: Physical, cognitive and behavioral development growth are affected in children who are hungry.  Those children are also more likely to experience irritability, fatigue and difficulty concentrations compared to other children. The Nurse Retention Committee in cooperation with Harvesters will be having a food drive.  Harvesters is the area’s only food bank.  Their network includes more than 620 nonprofit agencies throughout a 26-county direct service area, including emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes, homes for the mentally disabled and shelters for battered persons. Harvesters’ network provides food assistance to as many as 66,000 different people each week. Harvesters is a certified member of Feeding America, a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks, serving all 50 states.   Harvesters was named Feeding America’s “Food Bank of the Year” for 2011.  Children’s Mercy Hospital Main Campus has food barrels located at the employee shuttle drop off entrance as well as at the employee parking garage elevator lobby that connects to the Outpatient Clinics.  Another barrel has been placed in the Human Resources Lobby at Crown Center. Children’s Mercy South can expect two food barrels be delivered Thursday, February 9th between 8am and 1pm. They will be placed at the main and ED entrances. The Broadway Clinic’s food barrel will be delivered on Friday, February 10th between 8am and 2pm.  It will be placed in the Adolescent Clinic. Children’s Mercy West will have a barrel delivered on Monday, February 13th between 8am and 2pm.. Children’s Mercy Northland’s food barrel will arrive next Wednesday, February 15th between 8am and 2pm. You may donate canned and dry food goods.  Any frozen or refrigerated foods must be donated directly to Harvesters.  If you would like to learn more about hunger and ways to help or to make a donation in cash please go to www.harvesters.org for more information. Your help and generosity is not only needed, it is greatly appreciated! The Nurse Retention Committee