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Needs in South-Central

June 20, 1993

* I read your article ("Massive Post-Riot Efforts Have Fallen Short, Clergy Say," June 9) on the clergy's unhappiness with the public response to the needs of the inner city and was amazed. They just don't get it.

Those of us who didn't riot, loot or destroy are tired of hearing how we should help "rebuild Los Angeles." It's time for some blunt talk, like emphasizing individual responsibility and elimination of self-destructive behavior.

By the way, why aren't the eminent clergymen calling on the real destroyers of the inner city, the Bloods and the Crips, to hand over their multimillion-dollar cash stash? Guess that's too much to ask.


Los Angeles

* In your article concerning giving by various charitable organizations to people in the South-Central and Pico-Union areas to aid them in their recovery from the recent urban unrest, we of the Unitarian-Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) were surprised and disappointed that our contributions had been omitted under "Money Pledged/Money Delivered." UUSC has promised and has given some $100,000-plus to various organizations.

A partial list of organizations helped with seed money would include Concerned Citizens of South-Central L.A., Resident Empowerment Project, Korean Immigrant Workers Assn., Assn. of Street Vendors, Exodus Community Preservation Corp., Ethiopian/American Community Center Outreach Services, First Unitarian Church of L.A. Food Bank, Tomorrow's Entrepreneurs Today, Al Wooten Jr. Youth and Adult Cultural/Heritage Center, Dunbar Economic Development Center, Campaign for a Fair Share, Pico-Union Teen Post and Clinica Oscar Romero, as well as depositing some of our UUSC funds in the Watts United Credit Union.


UUSC, Southern California Unit

Santa Monica

* The findings of the UCLA hunger study ("Hunger, High Food Costs Found in Inner-City Area," June 11) corroborate survey data collected at five Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) sites in South-Central Los Angeles, Compton, and South Gate. About half the UCLA study area is served by one WIC site in our survey.

WIC is a federal health program for low-income mothers and children under age 5 who receive monthly vouchers for supplemental food, counseling, nutrition and health education, and referrals to health and social service providers. Because of funding shortfalls for California our WIC program serves very few children over age 18 months.

Our hunger questions focused on conditions before and after the civil disorder of April, 1992. During August, 1992, we asked a sample of 1,189 women, including 370 who were pregnant, to report for themselves and their children under age 5, including non-WIC participants, regarding their experience in the prior week. These women are a representative sample of low-income mothers in South-Central Los Angeles.

Of the 1,189 women, 117 (12.2%) reported that one or more of their children had eaten less than they should have in the preceding week because there had not been enough food in the household. Of these women, 35 (3.6%) said one or more children under age 5 went to bed hungry. Only 13 women (1.4%) reported this experience was worse after April.

Equally disturbing was the hunger status of the women. In total, 184 (15.7%) reported not eating enough and 103 (8.7%) reported going to bed hungry. Half of these 103 women said this happened more often after April. Among the 370 pregnant women, 27 (7.3%) said they had gone to bed hungry. Only 10 pregnant women (2.7%) said hunger at bedtime happened more frequently after April.

With regard to food stamps, issued by the Department of Public Social Services, only 294 women (24.9% ) reported participation before the civil unrest.

The results of our survey support the recommendations of the UCLA report for concerted action to address food and hunger issues.


Harbor-UCLA Research and

Education Institute

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