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Helping the Poor in America

July 08, 1986

Your recent series of articles on "Hands Across America" and recent opinion of Richard N. Goodwin (Editorial Pages, June 20) have helped to highlight certain aspects of hunger in America.

The first is that there are truly a large number of Americans going hungry some part of every month--about 20 million of us, according to the Harvard School of Public Health's Physicians' Task Force on Hunger in America. The physicians concluded that hunger is of epidemic proportions in our nation, that it is getting worse, and that it is caused by the failure of government policies to prevent it or to provide adequate solutions for it.

The second is that, while efforts such as "Hands Across America" are certainly valuable when it comes to raising funds to help the homeless and hungry in our land, the greatest impact of such endeavors will probably be in the way our society's consciousness is raised about the problem and the way individuals are moved to respond to the plight of our poorest citizens. Certainly it must be seen that the ultimate solution to the problem of hunger in our land is a political one, as must be the case with all problems that are so large that the effort and will of all the people are required to solve them.

As citizens we must express that political will in ways that have the greatest impact. Let's face it, the big money in this country is in our very own federal government, and most likely the biggest impact we as individuals could ever have on the hunger situation would occur if we regularly contacted our elected officials, our congressmen and senators especially, and let them know that we want hunger legislation to have a high priority.

Ending hunger should not be a partisan issue. There should be no debate along party lines when American lives are at stake. Citizens should write their congressmen and senators of either party and urge them to support and work for the fullest appropriate funding for programs that help the hungry.

MICHAEL P. TYLER

Temple City

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