Budget cuts shouldn’t target hunger program- Editorial
Editorial (in response to this article)

Some budget cuts are hard to fathom, even in these tough economic times that require governments to cut costs. Take the cuts to a federal program that provides food to 150,000 senior citizens living in poverty. Couldn’t an alternative to reducing that program be found?

The proposed cuts suggest that shortsighted lawmakers, in their zeal to champion cuts above revenue measures, aren’t putting enough thought into how their budgetary decisions will hurt the most vulnerable Americans.

Republicans in the House led the effort to slash $38 million from the food program that President Obama wanted to give $176 million. If the reduction is approved by the Senate, as many as 7,610 senior citizens in Pennsylvania may be dropped from the food program. In New Jersey, 3,000 seniors could be affected.

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program distributes parcels known as “senior boxes,” which contain enough food for 12 meals a month. The boxes help fill a critical need among seniors, some of them in their 90s, with annual incomes under $8,000.

The senior boxes are a godsend to seniors unable to leave their homes or are intimidated by the thought of dealing with the food-stamp bureaucracy. Then, too, many elderly who get food stamps run out before the end of the month and need further assistance.

Local food pantries and other programs may help fill the void if the senior boxes program is reduced. But that will require additional outreach because many seniors are often unaware of where to turn for help in times of need.

The lingering effects of the recession are causing other food concerns, too. For example, new research is showing that young children in homes where food is scarce are affected emotionally far more than previously thought.

Children notice it when their parents are skipping meals so the youngsters can eat. And when children notice, it causes worry, sadness, and anger. Imagine how that impacts their behavior at school and their ability to learn.

The wealthiest of all nations should not let hunger be the problem it has already become for too many families. Make necessary budget cuts, but try to save food for children and the elderly.

An editorial in response to this article.

Find the original editorial posting, here.

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