Zionsville Times Sentinel

County

March 14, 2012

Hundreds attend hunger conference

Zionsville — Hattie B. Stokes Elementary Principal Kelly Sollman, one of the panelists at the Tuesday, March 6, Feeding Our Future conference, said she would try not to cry as she related an incident with a pupil.

“I won’t make it,” Sollman predicted.

She didn’t.

But the story illuminated a heart-rending visual of the challenge many Boone County children face daily in finding enough to eat.

“I stopped a little boy one morning, because I saw he had an apple in his pocket,” Sollman said. Pupils aren’t allowed to take food into classrooms, she reminded him, and asked why he had the apple.

“I just wanted to take it home for my little sister,” the boy said.

That simple, unselfish reply likely made more of an impact on the 152 people at the first of two panel discussions on child hunger than the statistics with which Sollman began her presentation.

The presentations, along with a Taste of Boone County and exhibits by about 20 social service and health issue vendors, were part of a seminar with the goal of eliminating childhood hunger here by 2020.

Theresa Hanners, executive director of The Caring Center, said her agency has joined others to pursue the “lofty goal.”

She told of encountering a woman at a local grocery. The woman, who was crying, told Hanners that everywhere she went, “I feel invisible. Nobody wants to acknowledge me.”

view the invisible

It’s time, Hanners told the audience, to acknowledge Boone County’s “invisibles.”

“Sometimes, guys, we have to be the voice for those who are hungry,” Hanners said. She told the woman, “We see you ... but you’re putting me on a mission. I’m going to say to Boone County, it’s time we slow down” and help those people who have been ignored in the regular rush of life.

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