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Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Randi Shubin Dresner
Hunger is all around us, yet it doesn't have to be
Randi Shubin Dresner

The recent vote by Congress to cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — the food stamp program known as SNAP — over the next 10 years is alarming. If these cuts become law, those who are already struggling to afford food will be thrust into further hardship, increasing hunger across America and right here on Long Island.

Long Island’s congressional delegation took a collective stand and voted against the cuts, defending those who are most vulnerable, especially children who are at risk of hunger. Representatives Peter King, Tim Bishop, Steve Israel and Gregory Meeks fully understand the critical issue of hunger locally, and throughout the country, and we greatly appreciate their support. (Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy was not present to cast a vote.)

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 49 million Americans face hunger each day, and nearly half of them are children — who are least able to work to free themselves from poverty. On Long Island, more than 300,000 people, including more than 110,000 children, often don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

The faces of hunger on Long Island are hard-working adults, children, senior citizens, veterans, and many who are still feeling the effects of Superstorm Sandy. These are people who just cannot make ends meet and often do without food for several meals, or even days. Imagine having to make the unenviable choice between paying the rent or for medicine, or putting food on the table. For many of our neighbors who are faced with not having enough to eat, SNAP and local food pantries are truly lifelines.

Having just concluded September’s Hunger Action Month, the Island Harvest Food Bank urges those who can help to take action against hunger in our communities — not just in September, but throughout the year. This is a time to reflect and consider that on Long Island, a region of affluence, far too many people go through each day without enough to eat.

Given the congressional cuts to SNAP, the issue of hunger must be tackled by all of us, working together as a community. We all have a role to play in the fight against this scourge. The generosity of one individual or one business can go a long way. The message is simple: even with small donations, the impact can be great.

To donate to Island Harvest, log on to www.islandharvest.org or call (516) 294-8528 or (631) 873-4775.

Randi Shubin Dresner is president and CEO of the Island Harvest Food Bank, which is based in Mineola.

Comments

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Jackson

I applaud the efforts of Island Harvest to help the hungry. But I believe the answer to helping the needy must rely on private charity and not government handouts.

So what if $40 is to be cut from SNAP? How much has this program exploded under the Obama administration? The Dept. of A. is spending our money on advertisements to encourage more people to sign up. What should be a temporary measure has become a way of life of millions of people. Get on as many government programs as possible, for as long as possible.

There is little government oversight. There is practically no attempt to weed out fraud and abuse. But the advocate for the needed all scream the same mantra: more money!

What used to be a family issue - taking care of the needy is now a government problem. Here is a great example of how I see this first hand. I have a friend with a daughter that had a child out of wedlock. This friend is an empty nester. He shares a house with his wife with 2 extra bedrooms. He also owns 5 investment properties in Florida that pays him steady income.

Did he take in the daughter and grandchild when she could not take care of herself? No. He had her apply for every type of public assistance. She gets Section 8 housing, food stamps, SSI, and more. So he as two vacant bedrooms, and gets to keep all his money. Us taxpayers get to foot the bill for the daughter's bad decisions in life.

This is one example. There are millions more just like this all over the country, and YOU, the taxpayer are paying for it. That is right. YOU are paying for millions of people's bad decisions. And you will be paying more and more. Get used to it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013 | Report this
AlisonDGilbert

Jackson,

The example you give is unfortunately the kind that is too often given when the issue of hunger and food stamps are discussed from the perspective of government handouts. On the other hand, there are MANY charitable organizations and individuals who do privately donate food to those in need. Have you ever eaten their food? It is subsistence level not usually nutritionally based.

I am guessing you have NO idea what cutting $40 from a monthly food stamp budget means to an individual or family that truly deserve and need the option of finding some health supportive food. In these cases, where special diets needs to be followed and private food pantry consumables will not support those needs, what happens costs much more than the $40 you believe will be saved. Serious illness can result followed by huge medical costs.

I agree with you about there being very little government oversight. In fact, staff as well as food stamps have been cut dramatically. Ours went from $367/month to $16/month. What can you buy for $16/month for two people. On the other hand, the government doles out money hand over fist for programs that would make your skin crawl. I do not have the statistics. If you do, please let us know. But I suspect that the attention that gets put on food stamp misappropriations is just a smokescreen for outrageous government expenses elsewhere that dwarf the food stamp issue.

We are touching on the tip of the iceberg of a much more serious set of issues related to food and expenses resulted from inadequate food, poor diet, etc. I think we need to keep our attention on the big picture. I do not know if the responsibility lies with the government or private industry. But if you look at major for profit food producing corporations and pharmaceutical companies, there are major signs of greed, no care for feeding the country healthy or healing illness. It is a totally money making business.

Clearly, you have picked a good place to start the discuss. But believe me, you have only opened the bucket of worms. We have not baited our hooks or gone fishing. There is much to be explored and revealed that can put your unfortunate example of social services exploitation in perspective.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 | Report this
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