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Eagle editorial: Help Dole feed elderly

  • Published Wednesday, Sep. 19, 2012, at 6:10 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Sep. 19, 2012, at 6:10 p.m.

Sixteen years after he left the U.S. Senate, Bob Dole is still serving Kansas. But he needs the help of others for his latest project to achieve its worthy goal.

Dole is sponsoring an initiative by the Kansas Food Bank to feed poor elderly Kansans. He is providing a $250,000 matching fund pledge to create the “Bob Box,” which are boxes of food that will be distributed to senior citizens throughout the state.

Dole is the natural person to lead this effort. He spent much of his 27-year career in Congress helping people get food, supporting such programs as affordable school lunches and food stamps. After retiring, Dole and former Democratic Sen. George McGovern created an international school-lunch program for children in developing countries. In 2008, they received the World Food Prize.

Dole also has personal experience with poverty and needing a hand up. He grew up in a very low-income household in Russell, and Dole relied on the support of friends and neighbors after he was gravely injured in World War II.

Asking for help can sometimes be hard for seniors. Dole noted that older adults “would rather go without before asking for help.” But there are many seniors who are being forced to choose between buying medications and buying food.

More than 6 percent of Kansans older than 50 are food insecure, meaning they do not always know where their next meal will come from, according to Brian Walker, Food Bank president. Nearly 8 percent of the senior population in Kansas lives below the poverty level.

Boxes of food will be delivered once a month, starting with 24 counties in the northwest corner of Kansas by the end of this year. The goal is to send boxes throughout the state within five years.

For that to happen, the Kansas Food Bank needs to raise about $1.6 million. To donate to the Bob Box program, or to get more information, contact Debi Kreutzman at the Kansas Food Bank: 316-265-FOOD, or debikreutzman@kansasfoodbank.org.

Bob Dole has stepped up, yet again, to help the citizens of our state. Will you join him?

For the editorial board, Phillip Brownlee

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