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Letters: Thinking of the hungry on Thanksgiving

November 28, 2013
  • Food banks are seeking donations and volunteers. Above, volunteer Lani Orr pushes a cart of rice at the Families Forward warehouse-sized pantry in Irvine in May.
Food banks are seeking donations and volunteers. Above, volunteer Lani… (Los Angeles Times )

Re "When holiday tables are bare," Column, Nov. 26

While the Thanksgiving holiday is a time of celebration for many families, for the 49 million Americans experiencing food insecurity, these are tough times.

The Great Recession forced many families and individuals into food pantry lines. It is seldom reported, but the economy has recovered a little more than 7.2 million of the 8.7 million jobs lost between the start of the recession in December 2007 and early 2010. It's not surprising that 47.6 million Americans have turned to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, called CalFresh locally) to help make ends meet.

This trend should indicate that this is the wrong time to cut SNAP, but nevertheless, benefits were cut on Nov. 1 due to congressional inaction. Consequently, a family of three receiving benefits was hit with a cut of 20 meals per month, a difficult hole to fill when the household budget is already tight. Food banks and the agencies that we serve are already stretched, so we can't make up for a cut of this magnitude overnight.

I would hope that the Thanksgiving spirit of sharing would extend to our elected officials in Congress, but I am saddened to see that additional SNAP cuts are being debated.

Michael Flood

Santa Monica

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

Thanks to David Lazarus for his column on the plight of families and individuals who need assistance feeding their loved ones.

More than three years ago I began volunteering at a local food center. The experience has been eye-opening. Most of the clients I see work where they can, picking up odd jobs and relying on the lunch we provide for their main meal. The families often have more than one adult working just to pay for shelter and utilities.

Until I started working at Interfaith Food Center in Santa Fe Springs, I had no idea how many of us face food insecurity. Those who criticize efforts to help keep food on the table need to work with these families and see for themselves how grateful they are for the little we are able to provide.

Susan Little



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