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Letters: Celebrity chefs who fight hunger

September 19, 2012

Re "Food porn won't fill an empty stomach," Opinion, Sept. 16

Nina Burleigh contrasts the decadence of chefs preparing gourmet food on TV with America's hunger problem. But celebrity chefs and others in the food community are passionately involved in fighting hunger.

Wolfgang Puck has raised considerable sums for St. Vincent's Meals on Wheels. Food truck fans also support Meals on Wheels when they eat at the Cart for a Cause truck. Los Angeles chefs, food writers and bloggers plan events year-round that benefit hunger-fighting organizations.

Jamie Oliver recruits at-risk youth to train for culinary careers in his Fifteen restaurant, while in Los Angeles, Homeboy Industries has widespread support for its job training work.

The chefs are already fighting hunger. Perhaps their shows should include a call to action on their end credits and on their websites to get viewers to support these efforts.

Pat Saperstein

Los Angeles

The writer is a senior editor at Variety and editor of the blog

I appreciate Burleigh highlighting that hunger in the U.S. is a problem that has grown significantly since the onset of the Great Recession.

There is an abundant supply of food for the 50 million Americans who are designated as "food insecure" by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, even with shows that glamorize the preparation of food. Sadly, the resources required to acquire and distribute this food have tightened recently for both charitable and government programs, as the effects of the recession impacted these programs.

Decisions make a big difference — both the larger policy decisions made by Congress and the philanthropic decision made by an individual to donate funds, volunteer time or advocate for policies that can change the current reality.

There is a great deal of work ahead of all of us, but the choices we make can lead to an end to hunger in the U.S.

Michael Flood

Los Angeles

The writer is president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.


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