Our Voice: we're thankful for things we learn from others in the mid-columbia

We all need help from time to time, and we all benefit from other people's experiences.

Fresh produce

Perhaps the most interesting part of Ashley Croney's quest to donate unused food from Desert Hills Middle School's cafeteria to the Union Gospel Mission is that she is a middle school student.

Kids are notorious for being self-absorbed. Maybe it's an undeserved reputation, but often a teen's world doesn't seem to extend far beyond his or her cellphone.

So we're especially impressed with a 14-year-old who saw food going to waste and thought of a better use for it.

And then she stuck with that idea long enough to make something happen. For a generation consumed with texting and instant gratification, it shows dogged determination to hang in there long enough to maneuver the legal mine field.

As a country, we waste more than 40 percent of the food that is produced for consumption -- and we have hunge in our community.

Some of that waste is food rotting in your fridge at home right now. Some of it is oversized restaurant portions. Some of it is left in the field and never harvested.

Some of it is tossed by middle schoolers who didn't want it on their plate in the first place, but the government said they had to take it.

Thank you, Ashley, for taking all the steps necessary to give some of that food to someone who will appreciate it.

March for Respect

The Arc of the Tri-Cities does good work for people with disabilities, their families and the community at large.

Usually, people think about an organization like this solely in the ways that it helps its clients. And that's important. Clients learn life skills, make friends and find joy.

But it's something much more.

Arc of the Tri-Cities helps the community by opening our collective eyes to the talents and gifts of people we may have otherwise overlooked.

Their March for Respect on Saturday brought together 700 people. From their webpage, we "will gather to walk a mile for respect. With your participation, who knows how far we can go."

We think they're onto something.

5150 To Recovery

Another area of interest for the community is improving our services for mental health.

Kevin Kennedy, someone who knows what it's like to fight that battle, has started a foundation to help break mental health stereotypes in hopes people will seek help sooner.

For example, one of his ideas includes establishing a "warm line" -- as opposed to a "hotline" -- to help people before they are in a crisis.

May is Mental Health Month. We're sure to be hearing more from various groups that want to provide services in our community.

It's a need we can't ignore.