More than 30 local and state politicians, leaders and clergy met Monday afternoon to discuss childhood hunger.
Nearly 1 in 4 children in Sedgwick County go hungry or have food insecurities, according to Debi Kreutzman, community relations manager for the Kansas Food Bank.
The Partners for Wichita, an inter-denominational nonprofit, called the meeting on Monday at St. Paul Lutheran Church to raise awareness.
“This week we are really thinking a lot about children,” said the Rev. Sally Fahrenthold, a retired pastor who is heading the project for Partners for Wichita. “We have children in our hearts and minds.”
She asked those attending the meeting to think of a large family dinner table and picture people sitting around it.
“Who is going to go hungry? Who would they leave out at dinner time? Every child is there to be fed. When we think about community, we want everyone to be fed, to grow healthy and go to school, do well and be ready to go to work. These are things that affect our community as well as the general health, well-being and peace of our community.”
During the 45-minute meeting there was not much discussion from local and state politicians. Brochures were handed out giving statistics on childhood hunger and contact information for Partners for Wichita.
According to Kreutzman, more than 24 percent of Wichita’s children are not sure when and if they will eat.
“Many of the children rely on free and reduced meals, for some it is the only meal they have,” Kreutzman said. “We feel that our charitable organizations are filling the brunt of this as we move forward. But we know they are strapped. Pantries are short on food. They don’t know if they will be able to meet the demand.”