Dear Editor:

I was invited to the Rotary Club’s event Oct. 21, and was shocked to learn something about our community. Our area can boast some of the greatest scenery in the world. We have some of the greatest natural resources, and have a huge claim to wealthy residents and landowners all over the county, and yet I was appalled at the fact that some of “our” kids go to school hungry and are even unable to take tests the first few days of school due to malnourishment.

Whether it is from parent neglect and pathetic priorities in how they spend their money, or the issue of true poverty and hunger in a minimally populated county, it is unacceptable. Do we think that we can partake of our freedom and abundance, and not care what is happening to locals who help make our area possible? The Rotary Club is doing some very good stuff to help our county, but they need a lot of help. We have millionaires and billionaires living here and yet we have many families with kids that are hungry as a way of life. Can we distance ourselves from that? Can we pretend that it isn’t happening in our “retirement” world, or our “little bit of heaven” here in our area? No, we shouldn’t pander to freeloaders. We should hold parents accountable for spending money on things other than food for their kids, but we should also take the simple steps of creating a local funding project (Rotary?), and give needy community members who truly need it, a hand up and out of this unacceptable plight. We want to enjoy our local community, right? So, why don’t we simply help the infrastructure and build a real community that supports each other, and supports people who are able to constructively contribute? We have the potential to be a model community. We could create total self-sufficiency here, and be the example for thousands of other communities across this republic. So, you wealthy who reside here, if you feel so disconnected from the local community, and feel you can come here, or live here year round, in your bubble of isolation, and not actually become a real part of this community, then, in my opinion, you are a detriment to a united community building a model that could change the country. We have all been cut off from each other through a dozen distractions, but unless we have our own house in order, our own ability to live and thrive locally, then we are sitting ducks. I challenge all those out there who claim to be a part of this community, Pagosa Springs, and all of Archuleta County, especially those who have the resources, to step up to the plate, if you have any claim at all to this community, and contribute to the move to establish self-sufficiency locally. This will only help you, in far more ways than you can imagine now. Join us now.

Jeff Maehr

Editor’s note: There are a number of food banks in the county, and they have provided food to those in need for quite some time. Contact Community United Methodist Church, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, John Paul II Catholic Church, Restoration Fellowship and Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Aspen Springs for information.

This story was posted on October 24, 2013.