Letters to the Editor from June 5

June 05, 2007 12:00 am

Food stamps program needs deeper reforms than discussed

I was interested to read on May 30 about the food stamp challenge ("Today's Topic: Food Stamps"). It prompted me to go on-line and get more information. I read with interest a number of blogs posted by the various congress members that have been participating in this challenge. All came to the same relative conclusion: it is difficult if not impossible to live on the average $3 a day allotment for food.

I agree. However, perhaps there is some other information that needs to be included. I went to the California government Web site on food stamps and found this quote, "For most households, food stamps are only part of their food budget, they must spend some of their own cash along with their food stamps benefits in order to buy enough food for a month."

The Food Stamp Household Profile also provided this detail: Only 56.6 percent of households have completed at least 12 years of education – i.e. have graduated from high school. That is certainly not the case for the Congress members participating in the challenge.

Finally, items listed as eligible for purchase included seeds and plants to grow food. One ineligible item: vitamins!

Being a teacher, I have found one glaring problem: education. The choices of food that the congressional participants made indicated a knowledge of nutrition and what their bodies need to remain healthy. This is to be expected, considering their levels of education. In every case, the participants lost weight.Can the current recipients of food stamps make the same informed choices?

I see a need for a deeper reform of the food stamp program than simply raising the monthly allotment. If we are to make inroads into the problems of poor nutrition and obesity in this country, there needs to be the element of education. This includes teaching good nutrition, basic cooking and shopping skills(Congressman James P. McGovern had an expert shopper to help him!). Funding for community gardens and the inclusion of vitamins in the food stamp program also is needed.

Kathy Williams

Crescent City

Josh Lacy memorial served as apt reminder to driver

I went to Brookings last week and noticed that the Josh Lacy memorial was gone ("Lacy family removes memorial," June 2). It seemed like a lot of people worked hard to honor Josh and show support for his family.

It's just sad to me that everything is gone. It seems that as long as it was there, was like saying to the driver of the vehicle, "You won't get away with this. Everyone in Crescent City is looking for you."

Heather Holt

Crescent City