Many people think of donating food as something you do around Thanksgiving or Christmas. But those who struggle to have regular meals are hungry year-round, not just around the holidays. That’s why now is the perfect time to find a way to help others in your community.

Fighting hunger and malnutrition has been a topic near to my heart for many years. It all started when I was a child. My church partnered with Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana to help feed people in our neighborhood that were hungry.

My church was in a neighborhood that was far from well off. Every year when the Gleaners Food semi pulled up with hundreds of pounds of fresh, frozen and nonperishable foods, a line of people began to form immediately.

Some people who took home food were friends from church. I learned that just because somebody seems happy and healthy doesn’t mean they go home each day knowing what they’ll eat for dinner.

I helped elderly men and women carry bags of food to their car. I watched children and families smile and thank us for helping them. And I never forgot how much they needed that food.

According to Gleaners, one out of every six Americans struggle with food insecurity. Whether it’s an everyday hunger or just when times are hard, there are people that need healthy, affordable meal options.

My heart goes out to the elderly, the children and the families that try their best, but don’t always have a way to make ends meet. If there’s a way I can help those people, I hope I take advantage of it.

I also think there’s a sense of doubt, when it comes to donating food. Sometimes people think that others are being lazy and not working hard to earn their food and clothes.

But I honestly can say that it’s just not that easy for some people. Everyone’s story is different. The fact is there are lots of hungry people out there.

And while it’s easy to sit back and do nothing or to focus on taking care of your own family — which is hugely important, I should add — it’s still good to help others when you feel you are able.

Maybe someone in your family has a grocery bill larger than they can afford, so they skimp on meals. Maybe they eat well on payday and not so well the rest of the week.

If you want to help out, this is where to start. Help someone you know.

A great opportunity to meet the need for food in your immediate community is through the FAIRs Care program. By donating only $3 worth of non-perishables, you can get free tickets to the Indiana State Fair — what a great way to give back and feel good while you experience the 2013 state fair.

I encourage all of us to do something selfless this summer. Let’s go through our cabinets and find extra cans that we can give to food banks.

Go to the grocery store and buy foods to donate that you imagine other Hoosier families would want to eat. Maybe we can get one step closer to being a healthy, hunger-free state.