Originally Published: October 21, 2010 10:48 p.m.
It's late October, the weather is cooling and a couple of priorities are on everyone's minds. Put the upcoming election at the top of the list.
Take Thursday's Courier, for instance. A story about candidates appearing (or not) at political debates was the hot item with online readers, who generated two pages of emotional article comments before lunch. An editorial on the 14th Amendment controversy was another item that drew opinions like moths to a light.
Lost in the wave of campaign rhetoric and political rancor may be the area food banks' call for help. A Courier story on the food banks' plight the same day had drawn exactly zero comments. There are no party lines here, no sexy sound bites, and no passionate pleas from voters arguing themselves in circles until sheer volume becomes the intellectual weapon of choice.
Nope, things are quieter at area food banks, where it doesn't get much quieter than empty shelves. While candidates flex their campaign muscles and voters who couldn't even find food banks on a map engage in quarrelsome battles of will, other folks go on about their business. They may be detached from the headlines of the day. They may not know which candidate did or didn't say what. They've got bigger priorities.
Families in need get from the Yavapai Food Bank a well-rounded box containing items from the five major food groups. A family of four has to make the most of about 45 pounds of food per box. "Some of them may be able to stretch it out for a week," Yavapai Food Bank Executive Director Ann Wilson said.
The food banks themselves are trying to stretch their supplies, too, as they campaign for donations - not votes. The Chino Valley Food Bank has 20 percent more visitors now than at this time last year. The Prescott Community Cupboard Food Bank is up 100 visitors from a year ago.
Do stay focused on electoral messages. Do keep politicians honest and accountable, and do spread the word about candidates you endorse or oppose. We are, after all, electing lawmakers who will influence our daily lives starting Nov. 3.
Some neighbors in our community don't have until Election Day. They don't particularly prioritize campaign stops or rhetoric.
Election Day is later. Let's all keep a perspective and decide what is most important today.