July 12, 2013

The July 7 front-page article “Driving away hunger” highlighted the need to aggressively defend food programs for families and children. Through soup kitchens, free and reduced-price lunch programs and free snack and backpack programs, some children have reliable food resources. Tragically, many of the nation’s children are still hungry.

The version of the farm bill recently passed by the House threatens to exacerbate this tragedy by excluding, for the first time in 40 years, funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for millions of low-income individuals and families. Republicans severed agriculture from nutrition to garner even more support from their conference after failing previously to pass a bill with more than $20 billion in SNAP cuts. The passage of this bill deals a harmful blow to the more than 47 million Americans and more than 766,000 Marylanders who rely on SNAP benefits.

American families and children deserve programs that offer healthy, nutritional meals critical to development and learning. I urge Congress to pass legislation that supports nutrition programs for families and children.

Donna F. Edwards, Washington

The writer, a Democrat, represents Maryland’s 4th District in the House.

After reading the article on childhood hunger in Tennessee and the letters bemoaning our cruel, undertaxed, multimillionaire CEO society that allows such suffering [“Combating child hunger,” letters, July 9], I came to a couple of conclusions. First, the letter writers must have missed the paragraph late in the story that reported that one of the single mothers profiled receives $593 per month in food stamps, even when school is in session and her children get “a total of 40 free meals and 20 snacks” at school each week.

Second, given the free food resources available (which include food banks and church food pantries), it seems that we suffer not so much from a childhood hunger crisis as from a crisis of parental neglect, indifference, incompetence and possibly malfeasance in the form of food-stamp fraud.

David T. Barton, Edgewater