End hunger in Minnesota

To the editor:

One of the crying needs of a state that works is food. In 2011 according to RESULTS, a citizens group working on hunger, nearly 1 in 5 children in the suburban Twin Cities, thousands of our own, were at risk of going to bed hungry every night. As a teacher, I’m interested in the fact that studies show children who are regularly hungry suffer from weakened immune systems, slowed and abnormal growth, and anemia. Decades ago, our country made ending hunger a priority, especially childhood hunger, by creating the Food Stamp Program, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

Since then, SNAP has been critical in helping low-income families put food on the table and in reducing poverty. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that SNAP lifted thousands of Twin City suburbanites out of poverty in 2011, nearly half of them children.  I’m frustrated that some politicians in Washington, D.C., want to abandon our commitment to ending hunger in America by drastically cutting or restructuring SNAP. This would result in thousands of local families losing access to these vital benefits.

Let suburban U.S. Reps. John Kline, Erik Paulsen and Michele Bachman and Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar know that hard-working Minnesotans don’t want children and families going hungry. Urge them to talk to House and Senate leaders and Agriculture Committee members, telling them to protect SNAP from any budget cuts. We must protect and strengthen SNAP and work harder to end hunger in Minnesota.

Larry Koenck