LETTER: U.S., Missouri face urgent hunger problem

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 | 10:23 a.m. CST

Just last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its latest “food insecurity” figures and found that there were 36.2 million Americans that struggled against hunger in 2007. That’s nearly one in eight Americans. In Missouri, the numbers are just as staggering. In the USDA report, almost 13 percent of Missourians struggled with food insecurity. The report’s numbers do not include those that are facing tougher times in 2008.

Across our state, we hear more frequently about the increased demand at food stamp and WIC offices, social service agencies and emergency food providers. This shows us that growing economic troubles are overwhelming our community’s first responders to hunger. Our community — and the nation — urgently needs a boost in SNAP/Food Stamp benefits in the next stimulus package. It’s been recommended by economists from across the political spectrum — both as a necessary support for low-income people and as the best stimulus expenditure, dollar for dollar.

The need is high, and it is necessary for Congress to respond. We are calling on our members of Congress to provide much-needed support to these struggling families in the next stimulus package. Our communities need this.



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Ayn Rand December 3, 2008 | 11:03 a.m.

Nope. If you're hungry, get a job or a second one. There are plenty of openings in the classifieds. We as a society should not be enabling freeloading.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 3, 2008 | 11:54 a.m.

What kind of "con job" article is this? Columbia gets $400,000 for obesity programs yet we imply that we have starving people in our midst? Food availability is not the problem. Maximizing ones resources, budgeting, smart purchases, home cooking, appreciating the current benefits low-income families currently get and being responsible for yourself and your family will make people feel very secure and capable. Two things we do not lack in this country. Food and clothing. No one should be starving or running around naked in the home of the free and the land of the brave! Giving more, to the poor, may not be the answer anymore. Spoiled people are lazy people. Maybe it's time for a "leaner/meaner" American mentality. "Tough Love" works.

(Report Comment)
Jim Dog December 3, 2008 | 4:06 p.m.

"Food Insecurities" figures. Isn't that just great. I'll bet we spend untold millions of dollars for those figures - probably enough to relieve all of those "Food Insecurities". Problem is - this kind of stuff is gunna get a whole lot worse under the incoming regime...

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr December 3, 2008 | 4:27 p.m.

I do not think it is people really insecure about how much Food Stamps they get or the amounts they get at local food pantries per say but I do think they are complaining they just do not have the types of foods they want to eat.

This goes along with ray shapiro's post above.

I hear this all of the time that people have food in their cup boards but it is not the kind of food they really want.

What is that old saying? Oh ya when given lemonades you make lemonade. :)

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand December 3, 2008 | 5:13 p.m.

Here's how the USDA report defines security:

The big flaw with such studies is that they don't provide much insight behind the data. For example, my husband grew up with few groceries in the house because his father drank away his paycheck. My husband's sister's husband does the same thing. In both cases, why should responsible, hard-working people be forced to pay more in taxes to feed people who should be providing for their families? And that's just one example of how research often provides poor guidance about what society can and should do.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 3, 2008 | 6:02 p.m.

When I worked in Kansas City, for the department of social services, applicants would complain to me about waiting for food stamp approvals. I would look into their individual cases and give them a list of food pantries, "soup kitchens" and churches for food assistance, until their food stamp case was in order. Many would "laugh" at the list and complain that these places don't have the steaks and foods they like. Nothing like spoiling the so-called poor! (I also couldn't figure out why they drove better cars than mine and wore expensive jewelry.)

(Report Comment)

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