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Food for thought

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As editor, it’s up to me to make a determination of what I believe the Top 3 stories of the day are In every edition of the Bureau County Republican.

Once I read all the stories for that day’s newspaper, I use a variety of criteria to determine which stories should be on the front page — probably the biggest deciding factors are the importance of the message and how many people the story impacts.

Once the three stories for the front page are decided upon, I then have to figure out which story will lead the page (the headline story), which story will run on the left rail, and which one will be placed where we refer to in the newsroom as “below the fold.”

Typically, I make the decisions quickly. It’s usually not that difficult.

Monday, as always, was a busy day in the newsroom. Coming off the weekend, there are many things to consider, both for the BCR and the Putnam County Record. Between phone calls, emails, photos, press releases, stories and more, we have to operate at full throttle, keeping that proverbial pedal to metal the entire morning.

After reading the day’s stories, I decided which story should go where and passed on the information to BCR Design/Graphic Editor Greg Wallace, who lays out the front pages of the newspaper. After Greg is finished, I give the pages on more look before I pass them on to our night editor, Lyle Ganther.

That’s when it hit me. All the stories on Page 1 were about food. The lead/headline story told the circumstances regarding the government shutdown and how the local food pantries are/could be impacted as they attempt to deliver food to area citizens who are hungry. The story on the left rail told of the annual Buda American Legion’s dinner to honor area veterans and how the organizers are in need of not just volunteers, but also money to help buy the food that has previously fed 250-plus veterans. The third, below-the-fold story, told of the 10,000 Bushel Project, a humanitarian effort asking area farmers to help support at-risk children in the area and abroad by donating a small percentage of their crops to help raise money to support local backpack programs in area schools.

What the heck? The idea of people being hungry in our nation and abroad is not a new concept. We all know hunger exists, but I have to wonder if we realize how ever-present it is in our own backyard. I don’t know about you, but the idea of someone — adult or child — going to bed hungry makes my own stomach turn. Think about it ... a little kid pulling the covers up to his nose as his tummy growls — maybe even hurts — because he didn’t have enough to eat. I’m not talking some third world country. It’s right here in Bureau County.

It might be the kid next door or the elderly lady down the street. It might be the guy standing in line at the medicine counter who has had to make a difficult choice between food or medicine. It could be why the child is crying as he walks down the street with his mother, or it could be the reason that student can’t understand concepts or isn’t getting good grades in school.

But I leave the restaurant, and I never give a second thought to the food I leave on my plate. It’s garbage day at my house, and I stand before the refrigerator tossing food items that I either don’t want anymore or I can’t identify. I open the pantry and throw out a half a loaf of bread because it’s been in my pantry a few more days than I think it should have, even though it’s perfectly fine ... Shame on me.

People in Bureau County are hungry — many at no fault of their own. Please support your local food pantry. If we all did, I just have to think everyone would sleep a little better at night.

BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at tsimon@bcrnews.com.

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