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Letters: What Do You Think?

This week: Our Neighbors Are Hungry; Poles Started Historic Strike; Election: The Lesser of Evils; and Williams vs. McEnroe: Flawed Comparison

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our Neighbors Are Hungry

Like 49 million Americans across the country, more than 110,000 individuals in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties seek food assistance every year from the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and our region's emergency food network. There are probably many more who need our help.

September is Hunger Action Month. This is a time when the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, as a member of Feeding America—the national association of food banks—joins more than 200 food banks nationwide to urge everyone to take action against hunger and food insecurity.

It's unconscionable that so many people both here and across the country live with anxiety about when and how they will get their next meal. One in eight residents of Western Mass. struggles with hunger or food insecurity—uncertainty about where their next meal will come from. Every week, 15,000 individuals rely on emergency food. Nearly 20 percent of all children in the region live in food-insecure homes. They live in our communities; they are our neighbors, our co-workers, our classmates and our friends, yet their struggles often go unheard.

It's likely that every one of us knows someone who struggles with or has faced hunger at some point. Unemployment, low wages, temporary or permanent disabilities and high medical bills on fixed incomes are some of the common contributing factors. Combine these raw realities with limited food access, cuts in government subsidies to anti-hunger efforts and spikes in food prices, and the conditions are right for the perfect storm so many are living through now.

Families are seeking food assistance for longer periods of time than ever before. This is placing increased strain on the Food Bank and our emergency food network of more than 300 front-line member programs, including local meal sites, pantries and shelters. More than ever, community support is necessary to ensure that those seeking help are fed and that they know the community stands behind them. By lending your voice during Hunger Action Month, you can make a tangible difference in the lives of thousands of your neighbors.

Visit the Food Bank's website at www.foodbankwma.org to find resources and ways to join the Food Bank during Hunger Action Month. The "30 Ways in 30 Days" calendar outlines small but important actions you and your family and friends can take every day in September. If you don't have access to a computer, please call us at 413-247-9738 and we'll gladly answer any questions you may have. One in eight of us needs help. Will you stand by them during Hunger Action Month?

Andrew Morehouse, Executive Director
The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Inc.
Hatfield

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Poles Started Historic Strike

I enjoyed your article on the strike in Lawrence ("For the Shame of Doing Right," August 30, 2012). The speaker Robert Forrant gave a similar talk in June to our Polish Genealogical Society in Chicopee and mentioned that the strike was actually started by three Polish lady workers upon receiving their lessened pay.

John Skibiski
Northampton

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Election: The Lesser of Evils

Campaign season is once again upon us. Huzzah!

Stand by as millions upon millions of dollars are again wasted on useless ads that pander to our respective choirs. Put on your favorite party hat and grab a ringside seat for the great debates, in which nothing of substance will be debated, and jingoism and "truthiness" will flow like wine through a goose.

Whose side is God on? Which humans have more rights than others? How much more money does the military-industrial-congressional complex need? Fear not; our man has all the answers.

Thanks to the Commission on Presidential Debates, viable third party proponents for actual change will again speak truth to power from the sidelines, if they make it that far. We'll drown out those spoilers anyway, as we cheer Gallant Hero and boo Evil Villain. And come November, you will once again "hold your nose" and waste your precious (and still unverifiable) vote on the "lesser of two evils." What other choice could you possibly have?

Bill Chmura
via e-mail

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Williams vs. McEnroe: Flawed Comparison

An excellent piece of writing by Pete Redington ("Swimsuits and Other Issues," August 30, 2012). I would, however, take issue with the author's perception of Serena Williams' fine for her behavior at the 2009 U.S. Open.

This was not Serena Williams' first outburst, as claimed in the article. But it was her most serious. The issue was not simply foul language, but actual threats against an official. That was why she was not only fined but placed on probation for two years. Certainly the fine was large, and more than John McEnroe had to pay for his first 20 code violations.

What the author doesn't mention is that John McEnroe is 53 years old, and had retired from the ATP tour many years before Serena Williams began playing on the WTA tour.

Prize money was significantly lower in the years McEnroe played, as were fines.

Mac Gordon
Brattleboro

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